Cruzen gift funds new ‘Welcome to West Seattle’ sign
information from West Seattle Chamber of Commerce
For more than two decades, the “Welcome to West Seattle” sign along the Fauntleroy Expressway has served as a beacon for newcomers and long-timers alike. Today, sign continues to greet thousands of motorists and transit riders every day, but its original wooden structure is threatened, and the surrounding hillside provides a continual landscaping challenge.
The West Seattle Chamber of Commerce is deeply grateful to longtime Alki resident Adah Rhodes Cruzen for a gift of $100,000 designated for the installation of a new “Welcome to West Seattle” sign and a sustainable maintenance plan.
Adah made the donation on behalf of the estate of her late husband, Earl Cruzen, who died Jan. 23, 2017, at the age of 96.
Earl is recognized for bringing three groups together, the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce, the Junction Merchants Association and the West Seattle Trusteed Properties, as the Junction Development Committee. The “Welcome to West Seattle” sign, installed in September 1996, is one of the many legacy projects Earl and this group completed.
The first step for the new project was to create the Welcome to West Seattle Sign Committee (WWS Sign Committee). It is composed of these chamber members:
- Tim Andes of Waypoint Sign Company
- Paul Prentice, of Prentice Designs Inc.
- Hamilton Gardiner of Holmquist and Gardiner PLLC
- Gary Potter of Potter Construction
- Pete Spalding of Verity Credit Union
- Shannon Felix of Avalon Glassworks
- Lynn Dennis, CEO of the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce
The Board of Directors of the West Seattle Chamber of Commerce feels strongly that the committee should gather input from the West Seattle community on the design selection.
The WWS Sign Committee has identified two options, and the chamber is reaching out to the community for its feedback. Both options feature iron center sections that will rust gracefully. Option 1 shows "The Brothers" in the Olympic Mountain range in stainless steel on the top and a blue wave element below. It would be lit internally.
Option 2 is built from stone blocks that sit at angles to provide a more massive presence. More sleek in appearance this version would be lit externally.
The placement of the sign will be slightly further south than the existing sign, and both will have large boulders around them, and deep culvert just below to route away water and deter standing directly in front of them.
Both were developed by Waypoint Sign Company in Seattle. Requests for Proposals for fabrication on both versions go out next week.
On the chamber website and via other promotion, the chamber will gather votes in this fashion:
After a 10-day period for gathering community input that ends on Friday, Aug. 3, 2018, the WWS Sign Committee will make the final selection and a Request for Proposals for fabrication and installation will go out to the business community. Visit the chamber site here http://www.wschamber.com
Lynn Dennis said that the two options are only "design directions" at this point since no permitting with the city or means of getting power to the sign have been determined. Solar power lighting is also under consideration.
If you are interested in applying to fabricate and install the sign, please contact Lynn Dennis, firstname.lastname@example.org, (206) 932-5685.
Dennis says, “After you take a moment to read the obituary and eulogy for Earl Cruzen on the web site of the Southwest Seattle Historical Society, I know you will agree that the new “Welcome to West Seattle” is another sign that Earl is still here. Be sure to tip your hat to Earl when you drive by.”
Adah said she used to tell Earl, "Put your money where your mouth is. Especially when he would complain about something but didn't support fixing it. So now I'm putting his money where his heart is."
She said she has other recipients in the community in mind for further gifts but they are not ready to be announced yet.
Obituary and eulogy for Earl Cruzen www.loghousemuseum.org/blog/advisory-council-member-earl-cruzen-father-of-the-murals-of-west-seattle-has-died
Where is the vote to refurbish or recreate the original design? It's iconic and shouldn't be altered.