AUGUSTA — City workers on Tuesday installed not-so-new cobblestones to form the letters in the “Welcome to Augusta” ground sign on a hill off Water Street, greeting visitors crossing Memorial Bridge or headed downtown.

The granite cobblestones were salvaged from Market Square, which is farther down Water Street from the sign, according to Leif Dahlin, community services director. The cobblestones no longer were being used at Market Square. The city recently had redesigned and reconfigured a bus stop there into a grassy park. The stone message is visible from Memorial Bridge and is on Rines Hill facing Hartford Square — the intersection of Green, Water and Gage streets in front of Hartford Fire Station.

“We retained the cobblestones from Market Square and felt like this was a good way to recycle them,” Dahlin said. “We hope it’ll be an enhancement and creative use of materials.”

The rehabilitation of the Market Square site is costing about $284,000. The total project, including both the work at Market Square and the cost of creating a new bus stop, is expected to cost about $413,000.

The cobblestones will take the place of much smaller aggregate rocks the city has used in the sign for many years, which are painted white.

Dahlin said city staff members have had to replenish the little white stones annually, as they fall out of the welcome message, which is cut into a steep grassy area, or are taken by passers-by. He hopes the new larger stones will require less time for maintenance.

For now, the new, larger stones won’t be painted white like the older stones. Dahlin said the stones had been painted white to make them more easily visible to motorists traveling by.

“We’ll experiment with the new stones and see how the sign shows up au naturel,” Dahlin said. “We have finite resources, so this could be a little bit of a time-saver.”

Dahlin, a 14-year city employee, said the sign has been there at least that long, but he wasn’t sure when the message was first installed. Other city officials and local historians contacted Tuesday said they also couldn’t determine how long the message had been there, but said it’s been at least several decades.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj


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