Bloomington To Consider $580K For Downtown Signs, Branding | WGLT

Bloomington To Consider $580K For Downtown Signs, Branding

Jan 14, 2019

Bloomington aldermen will vote Monday on a proposal to install close to three dozen wayfinding signs downtown.

The city would pay Ace Sign Co. of Springfield $580,000 to put up 34 signs, along with a gateway arch on the north end of downtown and two other gateway monuments to direct travelers to the central business district.

Dave Park chairs the city's downtown signage committee.

“It’s going to bring uniformity, familiarity to places downtown,” Park said. “I think it will help retain visitors (downtown) and hopefully retain more downtown visitors’ dollars as well."

City engineer Kevin Kothe said the signs will help the city's core stand out.

“Helping people navigate to those places will not only help tourism, but then also people finding different government offices and other public venues in the downtown,” Kothe said.

The city's last comprehensive plan published in 2015 claimed the public has a “clear lack of understanding” about the downtown's boundaries. It calls for a “unified marketing campaign and branding for the downtown district.”

The city contracted with KMA Design of Pittsburgh in 2016 to design the signage for a $62,000 price tag. KMA created several design options and the signage committee chose a teal-colored historical motif based on surveys and public forums.

The city posted a mockup sign near Washington and East streets that directs travelers to several downtown markers.

The city initially requested bids for the sign creation and installation received no bids. Kothe said signs companies told the city the three-week time frame was too short.

The city reopened bidding in October and allowed two months for proposals. Ace submitted the lower of two bids.

WGLT depends on financial support from users to bring you stories and interviews like this one. As someone who values experienced, knowledgeable, and award-winning journalists covering meaningful stories in Central Illinois, please consider making a contribution.