City installs new entryway monuments

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After a four-year wait, Canyon Lake finally has new entryway monuments welcoming visitors to the City. The monuments were installed on the medians on Railroad Canyon Rd. at the western and eastern boundaries on Tuesday, January 31 – at zero cost to the City.

Four years ago the former City Council allocated $30,000 for entryway monuments and appointed former City Manager, Richard Rowe, in charge of the project. Short story: the monuments were going to cost more than what was budgeted for them and they were designed too large to fit in the medians. The Council tabled the project.

Four years later, and with the City in the black financially, a new Council revisited the tabled project, which is referred to as the “Entryway Monument Project.” The City’s new Administrative Services Manager, Mike Borja, was put in charge of heading up the project.

At the August 3, 2016 Council meeting, Mike presented the staff report on the new design and vendor for the project. It was discussed that the vendor would be Fast Signs from Temecula and the cost would be approximately $12,000 to $14,000 for two monuments that include solar lighting and installation.

Nancy Horton suggested adding “A Little Bit of Paradise” on the monuments in honor of three-term Mayor Mary Craton. It was Mary’s idea to put the saying on the monuments four years earlier when she was on the City Council that tabled the project.

There also was discussion on whether the signs should say “City of Canyon Lake” or “Canyon Lake.” Of the four Council members at the August 3 meeting, three were in favor of the monuments saying “City of Canyon Lake.” Councilman John Zaitz was in favor of the monument saying “Canyon Lake,” and he motioned to approve it that way. The motion was denied for lack of a second motion. The item was continued at the October 12 meeting so that Councilwoman Vicki Warren, who was absent at the meeting, would have an opportunity to vote on the project.

With all five Council members in attendance, the discussion continued at the October 12 Council meeting. Mike presented renderings of the signs and the Council discussed different options. Councilwoman Vicki Warren made a motioned to have “EST. 1990” added to the monuments, which the Council approved.

Mike suggested adding a LED light inside the small acrylic window of the lighthouse. “The light will fade in and out, giving the appearance that the light is rotating,” says Mike.

Councilwoman Dawn Haggerty motioned to approve the monuments as presented, which include the City’s seal, a lighthouse with LED light, and the words “City of Canyon Lake,” “A Little Bit of Paradise” and “EST. 1990.” Councilwoman Vicki Warren seconded the motion. The motion passed 4-1.

With the new additions to the monuments, the total cost for the two monuments was estimated at $14,300. The cost would be far under the original $30,000 bugeted for the monuments four years earlier. The monuments were to be installed within 60 days.

The project was delayed when Mike discovered the City was sitting on a $36,000 grant that was approved back in 2014. The grant was going to be used for a water project based El Nino, but the rains that were expected never came.

After some research, Mike discovered that the grant through Western Riverside Council of Government (WRCOG) covered “Economic Development.” Upon further research, Mike discovered that a component of the “Economic Development” grant included city branding and Marketing.

Since the City’s website and monuments are a part of branding the City, Mike realized that the grant could be used for these purposes. “It’s a win win situation,” says Mike.

The grant was amended and the money was put toward the City’s new website, which was launch in 2016, and the three new monuments. Only two of the monuments were installed. the third monument has been place in storage.

Councilwoman Vicki Warren says, “It’s been a long time coming. The wonderful part is that it didn’t cost the tax payers any money. It’s wonderful.”

Part of the grant also covered the cost of five new buoys, which will be used on the north side of the lake, near the City’s boundaries.

The monuments are made of polystyrene that’s coated with poly-armor. This material will not crack or deteriorate due to extreme weather conditions. The finish is water, mold, humidity and fade resistant. “It’s extremely difficult to damage. You can take a hammer to this and it will not do any damage at all. It has a special coating on it that protects it from weather over a period of time. This sign will last forever.” says Mike.

The seal on the monument is made of acrylic. All the lettering on the monument are raised. The lighthouse is embossed with a small acrylic window that has LED lights inside. Solar lighting will be installed at the bottom of the monument, facing upward and efficient enough to light up the monument at night. Mike says the LED lights and solar lighting at the base of the monuments will be installed within the next two to three weeks.

Councilwomen Vicki Warren says, “Canyon Lake is a unique and wonderful place to live. I voted for these monuments and I’m glad to see this happening after such a long struggle. Canyon Lake truly is a little bit of paradise and I’m excited to know that people traveling on Railroad Canyon Rd. will see the monuments for our fair City.”

The website and monuments were the first two projects Mike was given to work on when he was hired in 2016. Mike is thrilled to see these two projects complete in such a short amount of time. He say, “To see them both come to life is really rewarding.”

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Donna Ritchie