Basalt officials have selected a monument sign and art piece that will be placed at the main entrance to the town and, officials hope it will draw visitors off Highway 82 to the commercial core.
Basalt designer Nick Aceto won a juried competition that attracted seven entries. He was awarded $2,500 for his efforts, and the Town Council approved a $25,000 budget to fabricate and install the sign. It will be erected in the roundabout at Basalt Avenue, just off Highway 82 near the Basalt convenience store and gas station.
The jury forwarded three finalist sign designs to the Basalt Town Council, which approved the selection of Aceto’s entry. Aceto is a landscape designer by trade and principal in Terrain Studio, which has an office in Basalt
Aceto’s design prominently features basalt rock, from which the town gets its name. Columnar basalt tiles run the length of much of the sign, which is about 12 feet high and 8 feet wide. “Basalt” dominates the stainless-steel sign panel in a simple “Rockwell” typeface. Smaller cursive print says, “Welcome to” above the prominent Basalt and below it says, “confluence of rivers, recreation and culture.”
Aceto said he wanted to mix in some materials and images that complement Basalt’s history and its present activities. A fly, used for trout fishing, has clever placement on the sign. Riveted steel in the shape of a mining sluice box runs vertically beside the basalt tiles. The left edge of the sign highlights steel that resembles a trestle on a train track.
The idea was to use features “that capture the character of Basalt,” Aceto said. “I don’t think it’s supposed to define the town’s identity. It’s supposed to reflect the town’s identity.”
Lynne Mace, a member of the jury for the competition and also a member of the Basalt Sign Committee, said the monument sign should do a better job of welcoming visitors to the town and attracting them to check it out.
“When you come off of Highway 82, it’s pretty dismal,” she said, noting the sights of a gas station and mobile home park at the Basalt Avenue entrance.
Aceto’s design “makes a statement,” she said. “It’s a monument sign that will attract people off of Highway 82.”
It also was important to the jury that the sign’s theme could carry over. “It’s replicable,” Mace said.
The same look and feel will be used on signs throughout town limits. Three additional signs, similar to the original, will be used at Willits Town Center, Willits Design and Industrial Center and Basalt Business Center, which many people refer to as Southside. The sign committee will pursue budgets and plans for the smaller replicas as soon as the monument sign is installed, she said. Aceto said that could be as soon as June.
The same materials and general design will be used on other signs leading into Basalt and in its core, according to Mace. They will provide “unity in our dispersed Basalt to pull it all together,” she said.
“I don’t think it’s supposed to define the town’s identity. It’s supposed to reflect the town’s identity.”