Similar to spring flowers, something else has been “blossoming” in the Mount Airy area lately which also is colorful and eye-catching: wayfinding signage.
The installation of such signs represents an ongoing effort by city government and local tourism officials to better guide visitors in town to key attractions.
These include the Mount Airy Visitors Center, downtown Mayberry sites and the Granite City Greenway.
Providing such wayfinding signage was identified as a top priority among local needs arising from a “Vision” committee initiative in 2021 which explored downtown, economic development and other issues.
This concern was fueled by such situations as a maze of one-way streets downtown and lack of existing signage to guide people to key locations, causing much confusion especially among tourists here for the first time.
Wayfinding generally is defined as the use of signage, color and other design elements to help occupants navigate a certain space.
Using funding from the Mount Airy Tourism Development Authority — which reaps revenues from an occupancy tax levied at local lodging establishments — the wayfinding project began with two signs being installed last year.
Those went up along U.S. 601 (Rockford Street) at Hampton Inn and on N.C. 89-West (Pine Street) near Subway, at a cost of $12,000.
Two more wayfinding signs were added in February, one in front of the granite quarry and the other at Dickerson Farms in Bannertown near U.S. 52-Business and Old Buck Shoals Road — a combined $13,000 expense.
Assistant City Manager Darren Lewis, who is playing a key role with the project, reported earlier this week that four more signs have been placed at strategic locations including:
• Riverside Drive/Galloway Street;
• On East Pine Street (across from the city public works headquarters);
• On N.C. 89/West Pine Street (near Horizon Equipment Rentals);
• On Renfro Street/South Main Street (across from Subway).
“This will be the last set of signs directing people to the downtown area,” Lewis added.
“We will begin working on specific ‘downtown signage’ soon.”
Lewis says a “huge thanks” is due the Tourism Development Authority and Jessica Roberts , its executive director, for funding the project.
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