This story published in the Peninsula Clarion.

Something is missing on the drive to and from Anchorage. The Kenai Peninsula Borough’s welcome sign, which normally sits at Milepost 75 on the Seward Highway, is currently under repair at the borough’s maintenance shop.

Brenda Ahlberg, borough community and fiscal projects manager, said the sign has been removed and is being refurbished for age-related wear and tear.

“The sign is an icon,” Ahlberg said. “People are always stopping and taking pictures there. We want to make sure it’s safe.”

In the Oct. 9 Borough Assembly meeting, John Quick, chief of staff for Mayor Charlie Pierce, said the sign was rotting.

“The two beams on each side, basically you could put your hand on it and rip the wood out,” Quick said at the meeting. “That’s how bad it was rotting. Somebody could come and kick it and it probably would fall down. So, it was brought to the mayor’s office attention.”

Quick said there was no way to fix the sign on site, so the borough brought it back to the maintenance department where it is drying out, which Quick said could take a matter of months.

He said the maintenance department has fixed the sign in the past, but not to this extent.

Tim Dillon, executive director of the Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s office also expressed interest in helping fund a sign that would face drivers leaving the peninsula, Quick said.

“They’re thinking about throwing in some money for a sign that also says ‘Thank you for coming to the Kenai Peninsula Borough. Come visit again,’” Quick said.

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