Richard Olson and Susan Gardner bookend the new sign. (Richard Olson)

Richard Olson and Susan Gardner bookend the new sign. (Richard Olson)

‘Welcome to Bothell’ sign returns to city

Community members banded together to bring back the iconic sign.

By Madison Miller / Bothell-Kenmore Reporter

Bothell’s “Welcome to Bothell…for a day or a lifetime” sign has been replaced.

There were two original signs, one on either side of State Route 522. One sign was removed when the entrance to the University of Washington Bothell/Cascadia College campus was constructed in the mid-2000s and the second sign fell victim to an accident on the freeway.

Since then, community members banded together to bring back the iconic sign.

Inspired by the opening of McMenamins Anderson School in 2015, local business owners knew they wanted to resurrect another piece of Bothell history.

Spearheaded by Richard Olson of Olson Design Jewelers and his wife, Susan Gardner, the two launched a petition to gauge public support for replacing the “Welcome to Bothell” sign.

Hundreds signed the petition.

Through fourth of July parade entries and fundraising parties, more and more community members wanted to be involved. The city approved the creation and installation of the new sign under private funding. Over the next two years, funds were collected by soliciting donations through various channels with strong support from the Bothell/Kenmore Chamber of Commerce and Northshore Rotary.

According to Gardner, stories of what the sign meant to citizens arose. For Pete Anthony of Uncle Peteza’s Pizzeria, he said the sign was the first thing he and his wife saw when they first came to Bothell more than 25 years ago.

“We knew then we had arrived at the right place,” Anthony said in a release.

Olson’s and Gardner’s efforts paid off. Crossroad SIGN designed, created and installed the new welcome sign in the current style currently used by the city of Bothell. The cost of the sign came to be $8,600. While the sign was completely community funded, the city partnered to secure the new location and pay for all maintenance.

“It’s just so rewarding to see the sign finally go up,” Gardner said. “I think it’s important to hold onto any part of Bothell history.”

The sign was officially erected June 29 at the park at Bothell Landing, where Bothell Way and Bothell-Everett Highway meet.

“I just hope people will see the sign and feel the way we all felt when we first saw it—welcomed…for a day or a lifetime.” Gardner said.

This story originally appeared in the Bothell-Kenmore Reporter, a sibling paper of The Daily Herald.

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