For the past two years in celebration of Public Works Week, the City of Yuma Public Works Department and the Clean and Beautiful Commission have sponsored the construction of a welcome sign to greet guests coming to Yuma. In my role as an urban designer, I was asked to assist with the design of the signs.
These signs were truly collaborative projects. In both instances, the City teamed up with local high school students to create the sculptural metal accents, Public Works staff constructed and installed the signs, and the Clean & Beautiful Commission provided the guiding vision and support. My role was to consult during design brainstorming sessions and then help bring the group's ideas to life in renderings.
The first sign, unveiled in 2016, is located at the corner of Pacific Avenue and 32nd Street and welcomes air travelers as they drive out of the Yuma International Airport. Welding students at San Luis High School created the yucca sculptures that accent the sign. For more information, view the City News coverage of the project.
The most recent sign, unveiled in May 2017 and located at Avenue B and 32nd Street, includes design elements that pay tribute to Yuma’s iconic landscape with mountains, the rising sun, date palms, and turf laid out like fields of lettuce. Kofa High School welding students created the date palms and sun sculptural elements. Design elements such as the use of gabion baskets and weathering steel were kept consistent with the first sign. For more information, view the City News coverage of the project.
Both signs were constructed on previously vacant portions of City right-of-way. Neither site had water service, so design elements were limited to inert materials only. As these areas develop, the opportunity to add trees and shrubs exists to bring another element to these projects.