Pittsburg makes a play for tourist eyes and civic pride with new signs

Just in time for summer, Pittsburg will soon unveil a new city sign spelling out its name in giant orange-and-black block letters – a perfect photo op for visitors and residents alike.

“It is going to be illuminated and it’s gorgeous,” Kolette Simonton, the city’s director of recreation, said of the city block-letter sign. “Just to see the word ‘Pittsburg,’ it means a lot. For Pittsburg people, we stand tall and proud.”

Interactive 3D signs bearing city names have long been common in tourist destinations, but in the age of social media, smaller cities like Pittsburg also are beginning to see the branding value of such signs to inspire civic pride. City leaders are hoping people will take photos by the sign and post them, helping to spread the word about their town.

“It’s gonna be one of those monuments that’s going to be here forever,” Simonton said. “It’s going to be the one where each graduating class is probably going to go there to take pictures.”

They also might want to take photos at the city’s new “Old Town Pittsburg” gateway sign being installed this week in the downtown, the first such sign since the 1950s.

Funding for the $3.3 million beautification and sign projects comes from a $2.9 million Caltrans’ Clean California Local Grant Program, which will also cover the costs of the parklet where the block-letter sign is being mounted, street landscaping and other beautification work. The grant, awarded in 2022, required a match of $413,137, which the city got from American Rescue Plan funds.

The awards are part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Clean California Initiative, a $1.1 billion multi-year cleanup effort led by Caltrans that aims to remove trash, create jobs and transform public spaces.

Dubbed “The Reviving the Heart of Pittsburg Pride,” the Pittsburg beautification project aims to revitalize “the pride of people to take ownership and to stop littering,” project manager Zuna Barker Portillo said.

“The goal is for us to care about the surrounding areas,” she said.

Nearly complete, the block-letter sign and base, which cost $325,000, is located on what was long an empty lot at 1595 Railroad Ave., where a new pocket park with walkways and benches is now being built. Barker Portillo said the city chose the location because of its proximity to the high school, which is only a block away.

Gates and Associates of Walnut Creek designed both signs, the parklet and some dry-creek landscaping along Railroad Avenue after getting input through surveys of residents on the beautification projects.

Designed after the Pismo Beach seaside block-letter sign, the 3D Pittsburg sign with 6-foot-tall letters will be illuminated at night, though the silhouette of the letters will be orange and black, same as the high school’s colors, according to Barker Portillo.

City staff will have the ability to change the colors of the lights depending on the season or occasion, she said.

“The idea of the entire project is just taking ownership and pride of the city,” she said.

Down the road at Railroad Avenue and Eighth Street, the new $350,000 gateway sign …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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