RED WING -- The Red Wing Credit Union has a new sign supported by a reclaimed section of steel from the Eisenhower Bridge that was torn down earlier this year.

“The bridge has been around since 1960,” said Aaron DeJong, president and CEO. “The credit union has been around since 1954. It’s always been part of our history, and we even used a silhouette of it in our logo for many years. We have a connection to it, and it is a symbol of Red Wing, so to be able to preserve a little bit of that history was important.”

DeJong went to the demolition site and selected the piece of steel he wanted. He had several small pieces fabricated into planters in front of the pillars at the entrance to the building.

Smaller sections of steel were fabricated into flower planters and greet visitors just outside the front doors of the credit union. Steve Gardiner / RiverTown Multimedia
Smaller sections of steel were fabricated into flower planters and greet visitors just outside the front doors of the credit union. Steve Gardiner / RiverTown Multimedia

Construction crews salvaged just more than 6 tons of steel for the sign post and planters. The footing for the sign is 6 feet by 9 feet and is set in 5 feet deep. The 24-foot beam for the signpost had to be moved into place by crane.

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“To me the bridge symbolizes so many things,” DeJong said. “Strength. Connection between communities. There is the historical aspect of it. It has all of those things that we, as an organization, try to be, so it kind of reflects that. I think history like that needs to be preserved, and this is a small way for us to do it.”

When Red Wing Credit Union remodeled its interior last year, several patches of leather were integrated into the designs.

“The leather is part of our heritage, because we started as Red Wing Shoes,” DeJong explained. “As we’ve grown and expanded, we serve the broader Red Wing community. We have many members from Wisconsin that come across and work, so they cross the bridge more than a lot of people in Red Wing. That helps to tie that together and make a broader Red Wing connection.”

DeJong said many partners helped with the project. HTG Architects designed the project. Knutson Construction served as general contractors, and Neufeldt Industrial Services did the fabrication of the signpost and planters, as well as the crane work to set everything in place. Albers Auto Body did sandblasting and lead mediation to remove any hazardous materials. Schad Tracy created the sign and shot footage of the project with a drone for a video that runs on a TV screen in the credit union lobby. Parker Electric installed lighting for the sign and will be placing lights inside the steel beams to help it stand out at night.

"It’s a community thing,” DeJong said. “We are proud to have preserved a part of it.”