Main Street looks to revive sign project

By Messenger Staff | Published Saturday, September 28, 2013

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Do you have a hard time finding your way around Decatur?

How about your out-of-town friends who are coming to town to see a Decatur Eagle sports event?

Those problems and other “directionally-challenged” issues came before the Decatur Main Street Wayfinding committee Thursday as the group sought to resurrect a program that started several years ago.

Highway Sign Idea

HIGHWAY SIGN IDEA – Main Street Director Frieda Haley showed a Wayfinding committee some ideas for signs along U.S. 81/287 and U.S. 380 showing motorists the way to the historic Decatur Square. Haley said one property owner had agreed to pay the estimated $8,000 cost of the sign. Submitted photo

Main Street Director Frieda Haley reviewed for the committee work that had been done in the past and showed several possible sign designs to assist visitors. Haley said one downtown property owner had offered to pay for one of the highway signs, estimated to cost about $8,000.

“There is no money in my budget for anything,” Haley said indicating that most money earned from events in the downtown area go to pay for Christmas decorations and events.

Bob Johnson, who was successful in securing direction signs for the Wise County Veterans Park, indicated those signs were put up at no charge by the Texas Department of Transportation.

“We ran into a road block locally, but Judge Bill McElhaney had some influence in Fort Worth that got it done,” Johnson said.

Earl Smith, public works director for the city of Decatur, volunteered to work with TxDot on the project, but said the city could do some things independently.

“Once we move off TxDot streets we can do whatever we want, but when we’re on TxDot property, we have to follow their rules,” Smith said.

The committee suggested that signs off U.S. 81/287 were needed first, northbound and southbound. The northbound signs may have to be delayed until work is completed on the Farm Road 2264 and Business 81/287 intersections, probably in about two years.

Smith said he would contact committee chairwoman Jeannine Eaton with information he received from TxDot about restarting the process. He also suggested smaller direction signs could be attached to street signs along College, Hale and other streets pointing the way toward the Historical Museum, the fire and police stations, athletic fields and other points of interest.

Ford McElroy, the city’s Geographical Systems manager said he would work with Haley and Smith to further pinpoint the best locations for future signage based on TxDot regulations.

Haley showed the committee several proposed sign designs that had been completed by one of the vendors contacted to work on the project.

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