Tuesday, July 05, 2005

New Dixon sign grabs attention along I-80

By David Henson/Staff Writer

"Dixon" is in full red-white-and-blue bloom for this Independence Day.


The city is unveiling a massive landscaped sign that spells out Dixon with bricks and patriotic-colored annuals.

Located on an grassy embankment along Inter-

state 80, the unique gateway sign presents eastbound commuters with a 25-foot-tall emblem of what city they are driving past and its civic pride.

"Instead of a sign, we wanted something as people go by that says 'Dixon,' " Public Works Director Dave Melilli dead-panned.

Because of the design - flowers planted within letters outlined in bricks, Melilli said the city can change the sign's floral arrangements along with the seasons.

For now, the letters boast a colorful array of red, white and blue blooms for the Fourth of July that will remain until Labor Day.

"It's kind of a tribute to the troops and to the city," Melilli said.

Much of the sweat put into building and landscaping the sign project came from California Department of Forestry crews. Last week, the orange-clad workers were busy with the finishing touches of the project, planting rows of red and bluish flowers.

"Everybody who helped with this was really into it," said Dave Ward, a city public works employee who led the project's construction. "They will have left a little mark in Dixon."

The bricks used to outline 'Dixon' were donated by the local Basalite Corp. plant, and the city's engineering and public works department designed the project.

The display, located between the Pitt School Road and Highway 113 exits along I-80, is part of an overall landscape improvement project along Dixon's frontage on the freeway.

Despite the sign's prominent position along I-80, the city has tried to keep the project quiet until it was completed.

The massive project has been in the works since late spring, and city officials had hoped to finish it by Memorial Day, but late spring rains frustrated those efforts.

City officials, though, are enthusiastic about the sign despite the delay.

"I hope people appreciate it," City Manager Warren Salmons said. "It illustrates the pride in this city."

David Henson can be reached at dixon@thereporter.com.

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