A grassroots effort is coming together to bring back the “Welcome to Bothell for a day or a lifetime” sign.
Local business owner Richard Olson of Olson Design Jewelers started the push last year, circulating a petition that generated 350 signatures to bring the sign back.
“With all of the changes in Bothell, bringing back the sign anchors the past to the future,” he said.
His wife, Susan Gardner, has been working with him on the effort.
“So many residents, past and present, remember the sign fondly,” she said. “It’s iconic.”
The organizers have been in contact with the city to get their input on the project.
“This is really the first organized effort we’ve heard from the community,” City of Bothell Public Works Superintendent Nik Stroup, who has been the project’s point person with the city, said. “Kudos to Susan and Richard for just really going out there and trying to get support for that.”
Jim Jamison of Foggy Noggin Brewing has also joined the effort by crafting a specialty beer and designing a “Welcome to Bothell for a beer or a lifetime” T-shirt. Proceeds from both are being donated to the effort to bring back the sign.
“As Bothell evolves … it’s important that we keep some of our iconic culture,” Jamison said of his reasoning behind getting involved with the effort.
Foggy Noggin is currently out of the sign-inspired beer, but Jamison said he would likely be brewing a new batch soon. The T-shirt can be purchased at the Foggy Noggin tasting room in Bothell (which is only open on Saturday afternoons) or online at foggynogginbrewing.com.
Organizers have estimated they need to raise $10,000 to bring back the sign. To collect those funds, the Northshore Rotary Foundation has set up a special account at Banner Bank. Those interested in donating should make checks payable to NRF with “Bothell Sign” in the memo line.
The sign will be designed to match the city’s park signs, and it will have a new location, at Bothell Landing at the intersection of State Route 522 and Bothell Way NE (SR 527).
“That’s the general location that we thought we could capture the most people,” Stroup said.
The old sign, which was located near the entrance to the University of Washington Bothell, was infamously vandalized to remove the first three letters of Bothell.
Both the community organizers and the city hope the new location of the sign will help deter any vandals from altering the new sign.
“We’re trying to locate it at a new location that’s well lit,” Stroup said.
Stroup and Gardner both said the sign will have an anti-graffiti treatment to make it easier to clean, and part of the $10,000 raised by the community will be set aside for sign maintenance.
“We’ve been quoted $6,000 to get the sign designed and made, and the rest will go to the city for installation and maintenance,” Gardner said.