The Welcome Sign Project
The Dubuque Rotary Club, under the project leadership of Gary Olsen, saw an opportunity in one small but significant recommendation by an ambitious community-wide economic and quality-of-life goal-setting project that took place at the turn of the Millennium. It called for scenic gateways to be created for those who enter our city from virtually all directions. The concept called for "welcoming graphical demarcations" located in "the most picturesque sites along major thoroughfares" into the city.
Rotarian Gary Olsen, an artist and media designer by trade, couldn't resist sketching some concepts of how exactly that could look: a large, impressive and utterly permanent historical marker built of native limestone, red brick and wrought iron, common building materials found in many of Dubuque's historic structures. "My objective was to create not a sign but a permanent landmark to our city," explains Gary, "designed and built to stand the test of time and be an iconic symbol of our city."
The Dubuque Rotary Club embraced the $25,000 project that would establish the first such marker on the southwest entrance to the city along Dubuque's Technology Park. Funds were raised and construction took place within a year of the project's launch.
As a result, the City of Dubuque has built two other markers and a third one will be constructed this year for visitors entering Dubuque from Wisconsin.