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Tribune-Star/Joseph C. Garza

Welcome: Ryan Orman, right on lift, helps attach the new "Welcome to Historic 12 Points" sign to posts on Lafayette Avenue during the installation of the sign on Monday.

A much-anticipated gateway arch has been installed across Lafayette Avenue welcoming people to the 12 Points neighborhood.

The steel sign, which measures just over 41 feet wide, reads, "Welcome to Historic 12 Points."

The arch, which weighs about 2,100 pounds, was fabricated by Ryan Orman of Orman's Mobile Welding and Fabrication, Inc., who credits other individuals and businesses for their assistance with the project.

Many members of the community showed up to watch and take photos or video as the arch was installed, which took several hours in extremely cold weather. Orman said he got teary-eyed after he finally got home. "I definitely feel blessed," he said.

He also noted, "This has been a lot of pressure ... I usually don't have an audience." At one point, he estimated 20 to 25 people stood by to watch the work progress. He and those assisting spent about six hours on-site Monday morning.

Last year, 12 Points Revitalization Inc. conducted a community fundraising campaign for streetscape improvements that included the gateway arch. The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority provided a $50,000 match.

"This arch is proof that progress happens with the support of the community and the hard work of a group of neighbors on a mission. Twelve Points is truly coming to life and our family is honored to be a part of it," said Tiffany Baker, economic development chair for 12 Points Revitalization, a not-for-profit established in 2019 to bring business to the city’s north-side neighborhood.

Baker added, "Twelve Points Revitalization has a lot to show for their efforts over the last few years. They are a great group of relentless community members who make stuff happen, and 2022 will be another great year for this historic district."

Among those watching the installation was Alex Kosarko, who lives in northern Vigo County. "I've lived in Terre Haute all my life, and when we were kids, we were around the 12 Points area an awful lot ... This is just great that they are doing what they are doing. I'm very proud of the people of 12 Points."

Also watching from her car was Lynn Barbee, who lives in 12 Points. "This is exciting stuff," she said. "The group that has been working on this is amazing."

Jennifer Mullen, president of the revitalization group, said of the latest neighborhood improvement, "It is truly so amazing what people with a big vision and big hearts can do. If you tell people what you believe, you’ll find others who believe in it, too. We are so thankful for all of the support and for all of the talent we have in this community and beyond."

When Mark and Tiffany Baker approached Orman about the project, "I wasn't going to turn an opportunity for a job like this down," Orman said.

While he built and welded the archway, Orman also gave credit to those who assisted with the project, including: his dad, Gary Orman; Misco Crane Service; Archer's Race Car and Fabrication in Jasonville, which burned the letters out for him; Jones Fabrication (Orman used their facility to build the arch) and Bryant Engineering.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or at sue.loughlin@tribstar.com Follow Sue on Twitter @TribStarSue.

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