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‘Colorado’s Playground’ played out

DUFFY HAYES
Summit Daily News
Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk
ALL |

SUMMIT COUNTY ” People from all over the world certainly come to the High Country to play, but welcoming them at the county line to “Colorado’s Playground” is an idea past its prime, it would seem.

That’s the proud proclamation on a couple of the signs along certain roadsides at the boundaries of the county; other inter-county crossings have simpler signage, and still others have no signs at all.

The county, however, is planning on putting up new welcome-type signs along all the main roads coming into Summit County ” which will mean the “Playground” signs, often the object of obvious wisecracks, are likely destined for the scrap heap.

“We’re not crazy about the ‘Colorado’s Playground’ slogan ” people sort of laugh at that,” said County Commissioner Bob French, who’s heading the effort to get uniform signage placed along the county boundaries.

“We’re going to see if we can’t get an inexpensive ” ” sign up at these locations,” French said.

Currently, there is no sign welcoming people to Summit County at the busy Eisenhower Tunnel, so there will definitely be a new sign placed there, French said.

“I think it’s important that if you come through the (Eisenhower) tunnel, and you come out on this side of the Divide, you see a sign that says ‘Welcome to Summit County’,” he said.

There’s a “Playground” sign up on Vail Pass, and that will be replaced with one of the new signs as well.

French is also planning to install new county signs at Hoosier, Fremont and Ute passes. Signs at Boreas Pass and north of Green Mountain Reservoir along the Grand County line are planned, too.

French said he anticipated the cost of each of the signs to be around $1000 ” that’s peanuts compared to what some neighboring counties spend on their welcome signs. For example, an elaborately carved Eagle County sign atop Vail Pass cost them a cool $25,000.

“I want a simple sign that says ‘Summit County’, French said. “I don’t (care) if people think we’re rich, poor or otherwise.”

County staff are currently looking at creating some kind of decal that could be applied to a piece of sheet metal, and easily installed to keep costs down.

As to the new verbiage, the only thing French has come up with so far is the innocuous “Welcome to Summit County”; he said that’s what the new signs will say, or “something equally as bland.”

The Summit Chamber of Commerce originally put up the “Colorado’s Playground” signs some years back, but French said the Chamber’s executive director, Constance Jones, is fine with the sign switches. He alsosaid there’s no immediate timetable for putting up the new signs.

Sheriff Minor, who’s confronted with the legal ramifications of a county overtly promoting a playful, party image, thinks the changes are a positive step.

“Maybe that (slogan) is sending the wrong message,” Minor said. “We want to be known as a place with incredible recreational opportunities, but we don’t want to be known for a Mardi Gras-type atmosphere.”


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