Savage officials’ yearslong discussion about how to beautify the city and distinguish it from its neighbors could soon lead to changes at some of Savage’s busiest intersections.
The City Council reviewed renderings earlier this month of proposed city signage and landscaping for the intersection of county roads 42 and 27 — the second busiest intersection in Scott County, according to county officials.
The estimated cost of the preferred design is approximately $277,000, which would draw from the city’s community investment and permanent improvement funds.
Emily Gunderson, the city’s communications manager, said the project providtes an opportunity to create the “look and feel of the community” and emphasize the city’s natural resources.
Mayor Janet Williams said new city signs and other artful features could help identify parts of Savage that are often mistaken for Prior Lake or Burnsville by passersby.
For example, many people wrongly believe the Highway 13 and County Road 42 intersection marks Savage’s southern border, she said. The city’s five-year project proposal includes new signs for that intersection, too.
The broader project’s estimated cost, which includes improvements to five areas, is approximately $782,000.
Looking to beautify city entrances and the County Road 42 corridor isn’t a new endeavor for city officials, but the conversation focused in on city signs this fall.
A few years ago, the city installed planters in the County Road 42 medians, but it eventually abandoned the project because the flowers were difficult to maintain because of poor drainage, snow and the difficulty of watering and weeding the sites.
County Road 42 in Savage is scheduled to be repaved in 2021, and the project will likely include paving over the old planting beds.
In October, the city hired Bolton & Menk to design sign and landscaping concepts for the northwest corner of the 42 and 27 intersection. They presented two renderings to city officials this month.
Natural prairie grasses grow on the site, but “many residents do not understand this and complain about the unkept appearance,” according to city documents.
The first design concept reflects the city’s existing aesthetic elements, particularly the brick color and beam features at the city campus.
The second option reflects the city’s “naturally resourceful” tagline with natural grasses, boulders and a berm with changing elevation.
Councilwoman Christine Kelly voiced the lone support for the first concept, which she called classic, beautiful and traditional at a Feb. 10 work session.
“You’d be looking for the golf club,” Councilman Gene Abbott joked, and Williams called the design “straight-laced.”
City Administrator Brad Larson said city staff will move forward planning the preferred concept, and the city will likely go out for bids this year.