Elk River entrance sign design sent back to the drawing board

by Joni Astrup

Associate editor

Not all council members like this proposed design for a sign at Highway 169 and Main Street in Elk River. One council member said it looks like Scrabble letters.

A suggested design for a proposed entrance sign at Highway 169 and Main Street in Elk River has been sent back to the drawing board.

The Elk River City Council discussed the matter Monday, Aug. 20, and it soon became clear that not everyone on the council was sold on the sign’s design. The city staff has been directed to come back with more options.

The Welcome to Elk River sign along eastbound Highway 10 near Lake Orono.

The sign proposal called for using stones similar to the seating benches in the new downtown parking lot. Aluminum backlit letters would be attached to each stone to spell Elk River.

Paul Motin was one of the council members who questioned the plan.

He doesn’t think the city needs the sign there and doesn’t care for the looks of the one as proposed. As for the location, the entrance sign would be quite a distance from the city limits at the Mississippi River, Motin said.

Council Member Nick Zerwas said the sign looks like Scrabble letters. He likes the idea of another monument sign such as the one by Lake Orono and said he was part of an earlier effort to try to place one by Highway 10 across from the Oliver Kelley Farm but that never came to fruition. He echoed Motin’s concerns about the 169-Main location being too far from the south entrance to the city.

Mayor John Dietz, however, said it seems logical to put a sign at Main Street and Highway 169 because that’s a major intersection. “I don’t know of any other place you’d want to put it between the 101 bridge and this intersection,” he said.

As for the design, Dietz is fine with the new sign being similar to the monument one by Lake Orono.

Council Member Jerry Gumphrey agreed with the mayor that there should be a sign at Highway 169 and Main. He doesn’t have an issue with the proposed design, but suggested that the staff come back with some more options and the council agreed.

The sign is proposed to be located at the northeast corner of the Main-169 intersection, on property owned by the city. It is part of a beautification effort that includes landscaping the four corners of the intersection. Click here to read more about the landscaping effort.

Estimated cost of the sign as originally proposed is $19,500. That breaks down like this: bench stones, approximately $1,000 to $1,500 each; signage, $3,000; and extending electricity to the sign, $3,000.