Sign to downtown replaced last week
After about a month and a half absence, the sign welcoming people to downtown Washington was returned to its mount in the middle of East Washington Street late last week.
Technically, city administrator Brent Hinson said, it isn’t the same sign. The sign was replaced because of large cracks that penetrated the sign in both corners. When the sign was removed in early June, it was taken out of the mount in three pieces. Hinson said the only difference from the original is that some expansion material was put in the mount to help it withstand erosion better.
“The goal is that no one will see any difference,” Hinson said. “The goal is for it to be exactly the same.”
The sign was replaced because during snow removal on Feb. 22, a city dump truck had backed into the sign, causing the cracks. As time went on, the cracks had become more prominent.
Hinson said the cost of replacing the $4,000 sign was covered by the city’s insurance. He said the city had to pay a $1,000 deductible. Jim Bennett of Bennett Masonry, who originally crafted the sign when it was installed in November 2009, had done the work on the new sign. Hinson said that Bennett would be working on the sign through this week, putting the finishing touches on the work.
When the sign was first installed, the Downtown Enhancement Committee raised the needed $10,000 from local citizens, businesses and groups – including the Washington Betterment Foundation — to install it. It was an original part of the Downtown Enhancement Plan. The City of Washington provided an underground slab for the sign, as well as bringing water and electricity to the sign.