Send me a sign: Economic development project manager talks wayfaring guide signs
Maggie Tidaback, economic development project manager for the Town of Chino Valley was looking for a sign at the Chino Valley Town Council meeting Tuesday, Sept. 10.
More specifically, she was starting a conversation regarding researching and planning with Civiltech Engineering for a Wayfinding Sign Plan with the Arizona Department of Transportation. The amount paid to Civiltech Engineering would be up to $36,500, according to Tidaback’s Council Agenda Item Staff Report.
“Wayfinding Guide Signs are used to aid travelers and locals in identifying and locating their travel destination with guidance to major civil, cultural, visitor and recreational destinations within a specified region,” Tidaback said. “Wayfinding is important to economic development, it develops a town’s identity or brand, navigates visitors and locals through public and private spaces and maximizes that experience by explaining the environment ahead.”
The plan, she said, includes a detailed map of proposed locations; engineering standards; graphical representations of sign formats; detailed information on sign design, color, sizes, spacing and other requirements and ADOT details for foundations and posts and identification enhancement markers, such as a logo. Civiltech Engineering would perform the research and data collection, Tidaback said.
There are 14 proposed locations for the signs, seven heading northbound and seven heading southbound, she said. They include a Welcome to Chino Valley sign, a sign pointing to Williamson Valley and the Peavine Trail; a sign on Center Street directing to town hall; a sign on Perkinsville Road directing to the Community and Aquatic Centers and Compass Training Center AZ; a sign on Road 3 North directing to the Municipal Center, Library and Memory Park; a sign on Road 4 North directing to Old Home Manor, Granite Creek Vineyards and Yavapai College and an historic attraction sign for Del Rio Springs.
“What it’s doing is it’s pointing out major destination places, civic buildings, historical attractions,” Tidaback said.
Councilman Jack Miller said he had an issue with a sign directing to Granite Creek Vineyards without doing so for any other businesses along the highway. Tidaback said it’s an attraction as an agricultural marker because they’re growing grapes and making wine. It wouldn’t be advertising the business, she said, with Miller adding he’s “having a hard time splitting that hair.”
“It’s a business making money off the public. To where we’re doing that, shouldn’t we do that for other businesses?” he asked. “It’s hard for me to believe that we’re not showing favoritism to the winery or other things.”
Further, Councilman Corey Mendoza said the expense of $36,500 for the study alone would be difficult for the town to come up with. That’s more than $36,500 worth of goods that need to be sold to offset that cost. and none of the examples are going to bring in that type of revenue to justify the project, Mendoza said. The town originally considered wayfinding signs because it was a way to get ADOT to allow signs to the town’s local businesses, he said.
These signs will get people off the highway and into Chino Valley’s roads and streets, allowing them to discover other businesses, Tidaback said.
Councilman Lon Turner said that after looking at the number, he’s wondering what the town would be paying Civiltech Engineering to design.
“We already know where we want the signs. ADOT has to have rules as to how big they can be,” Turner said. “Why is this something we can’t do internally?”
The answer to that, Tidaback said, is time, which Public Works Director Frank Marbury and his crew might not have, and there’s a lot more to it than that. Other signs along Highway 89 have to be addressed, as well as where the proposed ones are allowed to be in the rights-of-way, and it takes a lot of time to do that study, she said. There’s also the matter of direct meetings with ADOT, Tidaback said.
It’s an out-of-the-box economic development project and there’s a lot going into it, but wayfinding signs really would have an impact and brand the town, she said.
The council did not vote on the matter, which was moved to a study session in October with the direction to bring cost estimates as to how much it would be to put the signs up and how much ADOT would charge the town.