Government / Politics

City to hold design competition for west gateway project

Public input sought on design that will promote Pinnacles National Park and the city of Hollister

A design competition will soon be held with the goal of having a community member create a gateway sign or entry feature for the west side of Hollister. The city council this week authorized the competition, which will be "open and anonymous."

Hollister's General Plan land use Community and Design Element policy calls for the improvement of major entrances to the city with entry features, signs and gateways. Leadership San Benito County initiated the design of a hospitality sign at the intersection of Highway 25 and San Felipe Road on Hollister's north side in 2010. That was primarily funded by the former Hollister Redevelopment Agency.

The city in May received approval from the San Benito County Council of Governments (COG) for the use of $50,000 in local transportation funds to create a gateway sign promoting Pinnacles National Park and the so-called "West Gateway" to Hollister.

A report by Mary Paxton of the Hollister Development Services Department said that the open and anonymous design competition format "allows for a large number of submissions and will help stimulate ideas about possible entry features." She said there "is not an obligation to select one of the designs submitted," though the information could be used to "clarify concepts for proceeding with … a refinement of the design."

City Manager William Avera said officials hope the designs will reference Hollister's proximity to Pinnacles and mention "any of the the other things the city of Hollister is known for." He also said the design can be for a sculpture "or any other artwork," not just a sign. He added that the city is "a little bit behind the eight-ball from the perspective of publicizing" Pinnacles, which he said has seen "a huge increase in the number of guests since it was changed from a national monument to a national park.

Councilman Raymond Friend suggested that designs be submitted by September 1, but Avera said the deadline would likely be within "a few weeks." No details of the submission process or specific deadlines were immediately available.

Adam Breen

Adam Breen has been a San Benito County resident since 1980 and graduated from Sacred Heart School and San Benito High School before earning a bachelor's degree from California State University, Fresno. A father of two sons, Adam has taught newspaper, English and yearbook at SBHS for the past decade, after six years as a magazine editor for Santa Clara University. He previously was editor of the Hollister Free Lance and content director for BenitoLink.