Like bread crumbs, new signs lead way downtown
Downtown advocates are hoping 22 new, brightly colored signs leading from Interstate 70 to Main Street will catch the eye of tourists and locals alike.
Most of the signs, which were put up last week, are square and display a symbol of downtown, such as a music note or a paint palette, and have an arrow pointing the way toward downtown. Other, larger signs have the same brown list of downtown attractions they’ve always had, but the pole they’re attached to has been painted a bright color, such as orange or electric blue. The color scheme was selected to match brightly-painted information kiosks that will be installed on each block of the downtown shopping park.
The signs run along Horizon Drive and Seventh Street and replaced smaller signs that were faded and often went unnoticed by drivers, according to Heidi Hoffman Ham, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority.
“They had been up probably five years. Even people who were looking for them weren’t always seeing them,” Ham said.
Ham said hotels and tourism-friendly businesses on Horizon Drive had trouble directing people to downtown, which was one inspiration for replacing the signs.
The DDA provided about $16,000 to the Downtown Association, or DTA, to fund the signs. Chamberlain Architects designed the signs with input from the DTA, which is responsible for marketing downtown and receives funding from the DDA. The DDA focuses on funding large projects and redevelopment downtown.
Horizon Drive is the first of at least four corridors that will get new signs to make it easier to guide shoppers and diners toward downtown, Ham said. The next area to get signs likely will be near 24 Road and Riverside Parkway off U.S. Highway 6&50. After that, signs will be added for drivers traveling north toward downtown on U.S. Highway 50 and for drivers who take the Clifton exit off Interstate 70.
“The idea is that we’ll do it in phases and try to do one to two corridors a year until we’re done,” Ham said.
The sign work won’t end there. Ham said smaller signs will be added to lead people from main streets downtown toward landmarks such as the library or the post office. Small signs also may be attached to historic parts of downtown with details about a building or area’s history.