By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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The installation of the new sign at state Highway 20 and Mill Road is the culmination of a project that has been in development since 2010.
“The wayfinding project has been part of our larger economic strategy for the city,” City Manager David Timmons said.
“This isn't only about tourism,” he said. “It's also about finding local businesses and what they have to offer.”
On Tuesday, workers removed the old sign and began replacing it with a more durable and streamlined version.
“This sign will be here as long as the last one was,” said Jorden Weiner of D10 Signs & Graphics of Kirkland while installing the new sign.
The original sign was built in the 1960s, said Tim Caldwell, former Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce executive director, and has been renovated several times.
The sign's message, “Welcome to Port Townsend, Washington's Victorian Seaport and Arts Community” will remain unchanged, though the background is now forest green rather than sky blue, and the type style has been modernized.
The letters will be mechanically adhered, unlike the screwed-on ones of the old sign, which vandals have reconfigured to read “Pot Townsend” and “Po Town” in recent years.
The last act of vandalism in April 2012 cost $1,000 to repair.
The new sign measures 10 feet by 16 feet and includes a new city logo that was inspired by the metal cornice detail on the upper southeast corner of historic City Hall at 540 Water St.
That same image was used by late local artist Russell Jaqua in crafting the iron railing in new City Hall at 250 Madison St. in 2005.
The logo will be used on city business materials and is part of the Enjoy Port Townsend campaign, which can be seen on the city's website, www.EnjoyPT.com.
The new sign is part of a citywide upgrade that was financed by a $200,000 grant from the Department of Interior and another $200,000 from a previously approved bond issue, said Development Services Department Director Rick Sepler.
Other signs pointing the way to Fort Worden State Park, Jefferson County Fairgrounds and the uptown shopping district will be installed in the next few months, Sepler said. “A lot of people coming to town don't know how to find Fort Worden. We want to make it easy for them,” Sepler said.
“We want to get people to visit different parts of the city. For the past few years, our downtown signage has been pretty dismal.”
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.