Visitors to Taylor from the west are getting a different welcome in the new year.
On Dec. 31, a new gateway sign was posted at the western edge of town on U.S. 79 East. The Taylor City Council approved the sign back in June.
“A gateway sign creates one of the first impressions a visitor has of a community,” said Mayor Brandt Rydell. “It should convey a message about the town and create a sense of place. Most importantly, it should be eye-catching and prompt a traveler to want to explore the town a bit more. The Taylor gateway sign on 79 will do just that, with its unique design and its explicit invitation to visit our historic downtown.”
The council chose the design of the sign in February 2019. A sign that use to be attached with the Carlow Motel inspires the look.
“Opening in 1955, the Carlow Motel sat at the western edge of Taylor on the Austin Highway. Its very modern and unique sign welcomed visitors to Taylor,” said Councilman Mitch Drummond. “When you spotted the sign, you knew you had arrived. The new gateway sign mimics the original Carlow Motel sign, a new sign with historical roots for a historic town on the rise.
“I'm sure it will be a popular photo opportunity reminding us all of our unique history and once again welcoming travelers to town. It really speaks to the pride we feel for our community.”
Councilman Gerald Anderson added that the sign fills in something that’s been missing for both visitors and residents.
“Something that catches the eye of travelers that will make them want to drive into Taylor instead of taking the loop around town,” said Anderson, “and for those of us that live here, a sign that welcomes us home to our wonderful town.”
Last June, the council approved the budget for the gateway sign that’s been in talks since 2016. The total cost for the project was $218,996.91 and included items such as irrigation, structural engineering and lighting.
“From the time I first ran for council in 2011,” said Rydell, “I have heard from Taylorites how necessary it was to have an attractive gateway sign on Highway 79, welcoming those traveling from the west as they entered Taylor and directing them toward our downtown.
“It was emphasized that this be placed well beyond the Loop, giving drivers plenty of opportunity to reconsider what might otherwise have been a planned bypass of our town.”
As for the possibility for more signs, the price tag for one sign might not allow others to be built soon.
“I don’t see funding three more of these. The costs are too much,” said Mayor Pro Tem Dwayne Ariola. “The other gateway signs will need to be another design in my opinion. It will be a good attraction for photos for visitors.”
“We’ll try to maybe go ahead and do others as funding allows to do them in the future,” added Communications Coordinator Kendra Dubee.