SOLANA BEACH — Visitors driving into Solana Beach from nearly every angle will soon have no doubt they are entering the city.
At the July 8 meeting, council members unanimously awarded a contract to Greenfield Fence Inc. to construct an entry sign at the intersection of Lomas Santa Fe and Highland drives.
The artistic monument was planned as part of recently completed traffic calming improvements in the area east of Interstate 5.
That project created a new median on Lomas Santa Fe that was considered an excellent site for the city’s fourth entry sign.
The other three are located on the north and south ends of Coast Highway 101 and on Valley Avenue, at the Eden Gardens pump station, just north of Via de la Valle.
Council approved the design of the new sign in January. Called the “Gateway to Sunshine,” the structure features a long serpentine, corten steel “S” shape with cut-outs of an abstract sunset on the high end and the words “Solana Beach” on the low front end facing east.
The sculpture is 55 feet long and a little more than 6 feet high at the west end. The lettering will be in a font used throughout the city. Solar lights will illuminate the city name at night. Drought-tolerant landscaping will be added.
Mike Swanson and Brett Reisdorf, members of the Public Arts Commission, volunteered to design the piece based on feedback from residents and city staff.
During a 50-day public review period the city received about 30 comments that included a variety of opinions and emotions.
Close to two-thirds of the people who responded support the project.
Jane Schucard said the piece is “artistic, interesting and unique.” Jane Morton described it as “lovely and fluid.”
Other residents were less positive, saying the entry sign is “horrendous” and “tasteless” and “could be a traffic hazard.”
Ted Hoehn said he would rather not have any “‘public art’ imposed on” him.
The estimated cost of construction is approximately $40,000. Money will come from the public arts reserve account, which is funded through the transient occupancy tax paid by hotel visitors.
The account was established to “provide Solana Beach a rich artistic environment,” the staff report states.
Another $5,000 is being set aside as a contingency, and $600 was spent to advertise for bids, bringing the total project cost to approximately $45,600.
No general fund money will be used. According to the staff report, volunteers will likely help with landscaping the ground area.
The contract award was approved as part of the consent calendar, which includes items that are acted on with a single vote by the council. Any member of the public or the council can have an item of concern pulled for discussion, however, no one did.