A number of Texas cities are installing monument signs at their city limits along well-traveled highways and it appears Fort Worth doesn’t want to be left out.
Depending on what’s chosen, costs potentially could run more than $2.4 million for six 20-foot signs placed at the city’s limits, including two each on Interstates 30 and 35W and U.S. 287.
Another option is to do nothing.
At the moment, the top option appears to involve using 1 percent, or about $2.5 million, of the required set aside for public art from the Streets and Transportation proposition of the upcoming 2018 Bond Program. In 2014, the council approved a similar measure, but the money was put toward public art. Normally, 2 percent is designated in the bond program.
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The council will need to decide soon. The council is scheduled to vote on calling the May 5 bond election at its Feb. 6 meeting.
Or, the money for the signs could come from grants and the so-called pay-as-you-go fund. City staff said it is making cost estimates based on similar monument sign programs in Arlington and Bedford.
District 6 Councilman Jungus Jordan said the city should let people know when they are entering Fort Worth with something nicer than the green signs with the city’s population. He said he favors using the 1 percent from the bond program, arguing getting six signs with the money goes further to help the city than a couple of public art installations.
“We talk about the city’s image. We ought to be proud when people come into our city,” Jordan said. “There’s a lot of people driving in and out. I hope we can find a way to fund this.”
Fernando Costa, an assistant city manager, said because the signs could be designed by a graphic design firm, the cost estimates are reasonable.
Arlington’s sign, near the Fielder Road exit, reflects the city’s star logo. The $310,000 project was funded by the 2012 Keep Texas Beautiful Governor’s Community Achievement Award, according to the city. The project was completed in June 2017. The city said it is planning five more signs.
Some public art installations are behind schedule, including a gateway monument sign, Jordan said.
The nearly $500,000 Gateway Monument Public Art Project was initially planned for the westbound side of Interstate 30 in east Fort Worth. Last June, that sign, in the works for more than a decade, was moved to Texas 121 after the Federal Highway Administration revoked its permission. The Texas Department of Transportation wants to eventually widen Interstate 30 and the sign might be in the path of a planned passenger rail line between Fort Worth and Dallas.
The sign spells out Fort Worth in large steel letters and are to be placed in cascading fashion. The idea behind the design is that it becomes as iconic as the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles.
Now, the sign is to be installed in the north westbound median of Texas 121 at Maxine Street and west of Beach Street, which is about three blocks east of a planned QuikTrip store and service station. That project earlier this month won zoning approval from the City Council.
Because of the elevation and the closeness, city staff opposed QuikTrip’s request for a 75-foot highway sign because it would be visible through the proposed public art design.