The $1.06-million price tag for Red Deer’s new entrance signs on the south end of the city has raised some eyebrows.
The welcome sign on the east side of the entrance into the city from Highway 2 that was put in place on Jan. 31 now has a complementary sign on the west side of the same entrance, closer to the highway.
Julia Harvie-Shemko, the city’s director of communications and strategic planning, said feedback to the signs have been mixed with the biggest concern being the cost, which includes the design, construction, landscaping and other associated costs.
Some of the cost was reduced with the help of Alberta Transportation that has been working on the new Gaetz Avenue interchange where the signs are located.
“There are lots of people that see that it’s an opportunity for us to show people where Red Deer actually is and who we are. It’s really intended to bring people off the highway and into the community,” Harvie-Shemko said.
The metal and aluminum welcome sign stands more than six-metres high, with Red Deer spelled out in red against a backdrop of grey, vertical beams. Two red metal ribbons twist and curve beneath the words Welcome and Bienvenue in white letters.
The equally large complementary sign has red ribbon that finishes off with stylized antlers.
She said the new sign is a big improvement on what was there and having two parts to the sign will attract interest from people driving by on the highway.
“Even if they don’t turn in the first time they drive by, maybe the next time they drive by they’ll pull into Red Deer and it can help with our economic development and bring people into the community.”
She said the signs will last for decades and previously there was no opportunity to have a better sign at the location.
The signs were in place in time for the start of the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
Spotlights have been installed, and landscaping will be completed in warmer weather.