Fairplay’s curb appeal and visiual image recently took a quantum leap forward with the completed construction of a larger-than-life entrance sign (pictured above) situated at the intersection of U.S. Highway 285 and Colorado Highway 9.
Whether entering or departing from the town on either of its most oft-traveled thoroughfares, the proximity and sheer size of the sign make it almost impossible to miss. The figures stand up to nine feet in height, and the letters each stand five feet tall.
The new entrance sign spans almost 80 horizontal feet and is brilliantly enhanced by a backdrop of towering peaks which make up the Mosquito Range.
The spirit or essence of the sign, which fittingly features images of burros and a gold-miner, provides visitors and locals alike with a constant reminder of Fairplay’s proud and colorful history as the hub of South Park and the most populous municipality in Park County.
Its imaginative design makes it worthy of standing as the centerpiece in a town that takes its arts seriously. The sign is composed of individual sculptures that have been meticulously placed in spacial relations to each other to achieve a particular overall or collective look.
Despite the artistic intricacies of the sign, its rugged appearance and cor 10 steel construction is also tough enough to adequately represent South Park’s legacy as a hard-nosed ranching community. Held together by lengthy three-quarter-inch bolts, even South Park’s legendary winds should be no match for the sign’s hardy construction.
The 1/2-inch thick metal plates used to construct the figures and letters is made to rust, then to form a self-protective patina that contributes to its longevity.
“The design of this sign was the result of numerous public meetings where citizens expressed what they did or did not want, and was a collaborative effort involving the entire community,” explained Fairplay Mayor Frank Just.
“I think this sign represents, one-hundred percent, the heritage of Fairplay.”
The Town of Fairplay received a grant from the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) to complete Phase One of the River Park – which included the Town Hall parking lot with a new entrance off Main Street (Colorado Highway 9), a new access road to the river from the Town Hall and the majestic entrance sign.
The grant was in the amount of $200,000, and the Town of Fairplay matched that amount, bringing the project total to $400,000.
The sign itself was less than half of the cost of the project, coming in at just under $180,000.
The $200,000 contribution from the Town of Fairplay came from general fund reserves that the town has been building specifically for this project for many years.
“The entrance sign has been a long held goal of the town board and town staff, and we were very excited to see it finally happen,” said Fairplay Town Administrator Tina Darrah.