Saturday, July 13

The Crestone Eagle is a nonprofit monthly newspaper serving Crestone and the San Luis Valley

Dark Sky added to “Welcome to Crestone” sign

By Anya Kaats

A small sign designating Crestone as an official International Dark Sky Community has been added to the wooden “Welcome to Crestone” sign at the entrance to town. Crestone trustees and town residents emphatically rejected Mayor Kairina Danforth’s proposal at an October special meeting to construct a 7-foot-high, 8-foot-wide sign estimated to cost $13,000. The trustees opted instead for a smaller, less-expensive sign.

While Crestone is required to display an official sign designating it as a Dark Sky Community to recertify with the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), there is no specific requirement in terms of cost or size. All trustees agreed a smaller, more-affordable sign would be sufficient and better suited to the values and priorities of the Crestone community. At the November regular town meeting, Dark Sky Committee member Scott Stevens presented an alternative idea for a Dark Sky sign.  

“Because there was such pushback on the other sign, we’ve completely retreated, and we’re going to go very, very basic,” Stevens said. Instead of building an entirely new structure, the new sign hangs under the existing wooden “Welcome to Crestone” sign and is printed on vinyl with reflective paint to give the sign a “very subtle nighttime glow.” 

The Dark Sky sign was printed by Extreme Graphics in Alamosa for $367. Given the affordable cost of the new design, several trustees and the mayor suggested that one or two additional, smaller signs could also be printed for display in other places in town, such as in Little Pearl Park and at the entrance to the campground. 

The trustees plan to research whether grant money already received for the Dark Sky sign could be used to finance these additional signs, given that the grant expired on Dec. 31, 2023. If not, the board plans to contact Joyful Journey Hot Springs to see if they would be willing to help finance the cost of additional signage. Installation of the sign was completed by the IDA’s required Jan. 31 deadline.

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