Frankenmuth’s $1 million welcome archway nears completion
FRANKENMUTH, Mich. (AP) — A Bavarian-themed city in Michigan will soon welcome its visitors with a nearly $1 million archway.
A new steel and concrete archway crossing M-83 will welcome people to Frankenmuth, a city northwest of Detroit that serves as a popular tourist destination, the Saginaw News reported.
“It’s nice for people to understand you have arrived. This is a place of importance, this is a special place,” said Sheila Stamiris, director of the Frankenmuth Downtown Development Authority. “It sets the tone from the minute you drive under the arch into the city.”
The towers are taller than 26 feet (8 meters). The archway itself measures 160 feet (49 meters) wide and in 8-foot-tall (2-meter-tall) red letters reads the word “Willkommen,” the German word for “welcome.”
The $918,000 project is entirely funded by the Palmer Foundation through the Frankenmuth Community Foundation, and “has roots that go way back,” Stamiris said. The cost includes a $250,000 endowment fund to maintain the archway.
The Palmer Gateway Arch project is the product of a vision Walter and Maria Palmer thought of years ago, according to Stamiris. The Palmers built and operated the original Bavarian Haus Motel, and were “ardent supporters of the Frankenmuth community, establishing a family foundation to enable funding of the Palmer Schau Platz, city beautification efforts, music education and many other good works,” according to a news release.
The project is expected to be completed this weekend. Stamiris said detours remain in place for cars and trucks.