Written by David Castellon
Some people drive by the city of Chowchilla and don’t realize it.
But city officials are looking to change that, as the city council has approved the final design of a “gateway” sign with Chowchilla’s name on it that will be installed off the northbound lanes of Highway 99, south of Robertson Boulevard.
And the sign will do more than just have the city’s name across the top. City Administrator Brian Haddix said in a press release that it will be a “monument-style digital electronic gateway welcome sign” that the city can use to promote community events and activities.
The sign will be bordered by brick and stand on a brick column surrounded by landscaping.
But the local activities or a city welcome message will be displayed only 14 percent of the time, as Florida-based Community Electronic Informational Signage is constructing the sign at no cost of the city and will own it.
In return, the company will sell ad space for local businesses to be displayed on the sign that can be seen by passing motorists, similar to a sign on Highway 99 in Selma that CEIS also built and operates, Haddix noted.
Chowchilla City Council members were shown renderings of possible sign designs during their May 9 meeting, and the members offered suggestions on alternative designs that included “Chowchilla” rendered in an arch at the top, in homage to the “Chowchilla Arch” that used to stand over Robertson, west of the 99, until the local landmark burned down in the 1940s, the he said.
Haddix stated that the intent of the sign is to make Chowchilla more inviting to businesses, visitors and residents as a place they can enjoy.
“There are so many great activities going on in Chowchilla, yet most people traveling Highway 99 have no idea. These include our Movies in the Park and Concerts in the Park series; Chowchilla Western Stampede, a cattle drive down Robertson that kicks off the rodeo and roping season at the Fairgrounds; plus our beautiful award-winning, 18-hole championship public golf course, Pheasant Run,” Mayor Mary Gaumnitz said in a written statement.
In the press release, Haddix stated that “the sign with the city’s name arching over the top while electronic messages promote its civic activities and businesses shows to all passersby of Chowchilla’s strong commitment to its history while stepping forward into the future.”