Three large welcoming signs to be installed in Houston this year

Project budget, however, had to be increased

Current welcoming signs on Hwy16 are to be replaced this year. (File photo)

Current welcoming signs on Hwy16 are to be replaced this year. (File photo)

Motorists entering Houston from either side along Hwy16 will be greeted with new welcoming signs this year and when they get into the community, a larger one highlighting the entrance to the downtown area, the District of Houston council has decided.

But the cost will be $337,565.77 which is $90,640.77 more than the $246,925 the District had earlier set aside for the project.

The cost was contained in the only bid received from Steel Art Signs Corp. after the district called for bids for the work earlier this year.

Council was presented with several options in a memo regarding the cost and project, options which included postponing the work entirely or just concentrating on the welcoming or two gateway signs, something that would reduce costs to $224,188.28.

Postponing entirely was not recommended by staffers because that would mean losing a $100,000 senior government grant first provided in 2018 for a complete sign replacement project on the highway and within the community.

Going forward with just the two gateway signs would mean the District would not lose that $100,000 grant.

“Should council choose to construct only the gateway signs, the project budget for this year is sufficient, however the downtown entrance sign will need to be included in the wayfinding signage implementation financial strategy at a later date,” the staff memo indicated.

Staffers did recommend constructing only the two welcoming or gateway signs, but that was rejected by council in choosing to do all three signs.

The District will tap into its surplus for the $90,640.77 to close the gap between what was budgeted and the price in the bid that was received.

As designed now, the signs will retain the District’s “Naturally Amazing” slogan and have space to incorporate local indigenous artistic elements as desired.

The three signs are part of a multi-year project to replace the District’s various signs around the community so that there is a common theme and presentation.

In particular, the two gateway signs and the one downtown are part of the District’s long range plan to modernize the downtown core and make Hwy16 more attractive as it runs adjacent to the downtown.

Full financing of the project, estimated in 2020 to be in the range of $737,620 in 2020 dollars has yet to be secured.