Beaufort residents are about to get their first look at signs that will greet visitors and point tourists around town.
A sign project by the Beaufort Planning Department and Main Street Beaufort, USA, has been underway for about nine months. Results will be unveiled at two upcoming meetings.
The first presentation will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday before the Historic District Review Board. The second will be at a special city meeting devoted to the signs, scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday. Both meetings will be in the planning conference room of City Hall, 1911 Boundary St.
The presentations will include examples of the various designs and maps showing where the signs will be placed.
After comparing and combining a number of reports on branding and signage dating to 2009, city staff created a new report and used that to solicit proposals for designs. It selected Gimme-a-Sign, a Greenville company that undertook a similar project for the Upstate city.
The signs include a style to mark gateways to the city, the historic district and downtown commercial district; directional signs leading to landmarks and points of interest; and "More to Explore" signs that will point to businesses off Bay Street.
City officials said the More to Explore signs would help businesses on side streets be more visible. Last fall, the city banned sidewalk sandwich board signs on Bay Street for businesses off Bay. Businesses can buy slots on the More to Explore signs.
Still unclear is how much the signs will cost and how they will be paid for, according to Main Street Beaufort executive director LaNelle Fabian.
Some money will come from those paying for the More to Explore signs. City Council had discussed setting aside $25,000 from 2013 accommodations tax money for signs, but decided not to after finance director Kathy Todd said she wasn't sure the signs were eligible for the grants, which are used to support tourism.
Jeff Evans, former chairman of a committee that advises council on how accommodations tax money should be spent, has said using it on signs might be permissible.
A request for proposals for the manufacture and installation of the signs will go out Friday. Fabian said the signs could start going up by the end of April.
Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.
- Beaufort City Council considers accommodation tax grants, April 16, 2013: http://bit.ly/1hyhSH6
- Sandwich board sign rules pass first vote by Beaufort City Council, Oct. 22, 2013: http://bit.ly/160yRB0
- Consultants, residents, business owners develop marketing campaign for Beaufort, Dec. 14, 2012: http://bit.ly/1joRvIh