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All Signs Point to a Signage Makeover for the Borough

The Wayfinding committee has designs on adding around 25 signs to the downtown.

Phoenixville has bars, coffee shops, restaurants, , and aplenty. What the borough’s short on are indications of where these things actually are.

Enter the Wayfinding Project.

Spearheaded by councilmen Dave Gautreau and Jenn Mayo, executive director Mary Foote, Marion Moskowitz of , and borough manager Jean Krack, the Wayfinding Project is a signage effort aimed at helping guide borough visitors to its many attractions.

“Currently, you could arrive in Phoenixville, drive through it, and never know where you were because of the lack of signage,” said Mayo. “The major goal of the committee is to ensure that visitors know they have arrived in Phoenixville, give them a reason to stay for a while, and give the residents something to be very proud of.”

“Locations of attractions, institutions and parking need to be identified more clearly to visitors and residents,” added Krack.

With the help of design firm ex;it, the borough has selected a sign style (see images of the selected sign scheme attached to this article) and has now begun raising the $125,000 necessary to stake the signs around town. The project has, so far, been bankrolled by an $8,000 grant from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and an equal match from the borough.

It’s unclear where precisely the 21 to 26 signs will be staked, but according to the most recent mockup of the plan, they will likely be concentrated on and around Bridge Street, with several stationed at various points on Nutt Road.

Krack said the signage effort dates back to December of 2009, when the borough council and staff brought together a Wayfinding taskforce comprised of area academic, professional, and civic leaders. A month later, Drexel University created a course whose objective was developing an identity mark and signage system for the borough.  

Though the plan will be implemented in three phases, the borough is still over $100,000 short of the dollar amount it will need to finish the project. Anyone able to help raise funds to bridge this gap is invited to contact Jean Krack at 610-933-8801.   

Laura Schwartz July 16, 2012 at 05:46 PM
21 to 26 signs at a cost of $125,000? Brings new understanding to the term "highway robbery" at an average of about $5K per sign.
Chris Dyer July 16, 2012 at 06:14 PM
I couldnt agree with you more Laura. Someone on council needs to take a serious look at these costs and start asking the obvious questions.
Tom Sunnergren (Editor) July 16, 2012 at 06:58 PM
$125,000 does sound like a lot, but it's important to remember that the borough isn't footing the bill on this one.
Chris Dyer July 16, 2012 at 07:33 PM
I realise that the Boro isnt paying for the whole thing (Just $8,000) but someone needs to look at the costs and it would seem that since they are relying on donations someone has to take a controling hand on this, like the Wayfinding Task Force and start asking why the costs are what they are. With 2 council people & the boro manager runnign this "task force" it cetainly sounds like the boro is in for alot more then just the $8K donation match.
Erin Marie July 16, 2012 at 07:41 PM
You said they're footing part of it in the equal match, correct?
David Curran July 16, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Tom S, I am not to sure of the efficacy of this sign program- but in a time honored PhoenixvillePatch tradition I choose to go off topic. All of the dog polls, etc are just brutal. On top of the fact that my 11 week old Chesapeake Bay Retriever would just dominate; they just appear to be ways to generate enormous amounts of hits to the site. They really serve no useful purpose other than to generate web traffic.
Tom Sunnergren July 16, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Hey Dave. Not sure I know enough about the benefit end of the signage cost/benefit to speculate about its efficacy (though to my ear it sounds like a lot of money). As to the dog poll, those are decisions that are made way above my pay grade. For what it's worth, a lot of people seem to be getting a kick out of it.
K.B. Matticus July 17, 2012 at 01:46 AM
It doesn't really matter which entity is footing the bill - that money is coming from taxpayers, without their approval, one way or the other. $125,000 for 25 signs is absurd - anyone with an ounce of common sense (and we have a few in Phoenixville) could do that work on a volunteer effort in an afternoon.
SKH July 17, 2012 at 11:40 AM
"councilmen Dave Gautreau and Jenn Mayo". Perhaps "councilpersons"?
Chris Dyer July 17, 2012 at 11:43 AM
You would also think that the Wayfinding Commitee would go in search of a LOCAL company to do the design work for the signs. There are design companies IN PHOENIXVILLE that do work like this such as Virtual Farm Creative, so why go to a Philadelphia design company? Wouldnt you want to help keep local business's more involved in the Phoenixville community?
Chris Dyer July 17, 2012 at 11:45 AM
really? thats your contribution to the story....proper grammar
Peter C. Brown July 17, 2012 at 12:26 PM
Do we really need 3-4 sign posts at the end of Starr Street - or any other - with Phoenixville labels on them? Isn't that overkill? And do we really need flying Phoenixes on the blue lamp posts? Educational and directional signage.....to get visitors safely into and parked in our downtown district is important, but an overabundance of signage that is "just pretty" seems wasteful. $125,000 is a lot of money, but - undoubtedly - there would be a lot of labor and material costs involved with producing and installing this type of signage. It would be interesting to see the breakdown. Some examples of signage out there that are a big waste are the signs all around advertising that you are entering a certain water shed. How does that help you navigate the highways? Another example is the Tree City sign that is posted all over town. Why? What does it accomplish? Too much signage on our streets with little purpose makes our town look trashy.
Ed Roper July 17, 2012 at 01:49 PM
So...because it's not our tax money, it's ok to waste it then? I gotcha. We could do a lot more than just signs with 125k to help Phoenixville.
Peter C. Brown July 17, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Amen. Maybe a few less signs and a lot more parking garage?
Michael Hill July 17, 2012 at 02:38 PM
It would be nice if people would actually go to a meeting and voice their concerns and find out the facts. The $125,000 as I understand it is for design, implementation, and construction. I doubt many people know the realities of cost when it comes to a project like this since they don’t work in a design firm. If Phoenixville is to become a destination spot it needs signage like other towns. Look at the banners that are currently flying in KoP or West Chester. Again if you want to give your impute go to a meeting the EDC meeting is scheduled for next week. It would be a great opportunity for you speak and ask question.
Michael Hill July 17, 2012 at 02:40 PM
P.S. A parking garage is going to be a multi million dollar expense. Imagine the complaints about that.
Randy Morin July 17, 2012 at 02:56 PM
The intention of the watershed signs is to raise the public's awareness and encourage good stewardship of the streams, wetlands, and water supply. In other words to remind drivers that if they throw a cigarette butt out the window it will go directly into the watershed named on the sign. Similarly, the Tree City USA signs tell visitors that Phoenixville cares about its environment. It is also an indication to prospective businesses that the quality of life may be better here.
Peter C. Brown July 17, 2012 at 03:27 PM
I understand the value of watershed awareness and that Phoenixville cares about the quality of life in our town. However, the messages need to be more creative and encouraging. Placing a few strategic signs next to our bridges and other commercial areas is fine. However, I don't like them in my driveway and in front of my family's house! Phoenixville has also placed the signs in surrounding Townships, which is inappropriate.
Deb Johnston July 17, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Michael, thank you for your eloquent explanation of the realities of signage. if the borough wants to reap the rewards from lively commercial enterprises it must invest in itself. Signage is one way of promoting the Borough as a destination spot. Towns with good signage and banners are just more inviting. Your point about giving input by attending community and municipal meetings is the best way to be informed about the process. Even better is volunteering for a position on one of the many commissions that support the Borough such as HARB, zoning hearing board, planning commission, tree commission and even council. If a few more people from the middle ward would step up to the plate and apply for the vacancy on council then perhaps borough council would not be stuck deciding on candidates who bring a lot of questionable history and baggage to the table. It would be great to see some new faces getting involved in their borough.
Peter C. Brown July 17, 2012 at 06:51 PM
All good suggestions Deb. Thanks for your input. I would personally like to be more involved, but I am no longer a full-time resident of the Borough. However, I do continue to do a lot of volunteer work for the Borough and the Historical Society when and where I can. I am thankful for all the progress that has been made and believe that most of it is all good. However, there are opportunities for more effective decision-making.
Paul G. Celentano July 18, 2012 at 03:07 AM
I'm sorry, but $4,800 per sign for 26? Way too much money. Sure there is bang for the buck but a lot more bang for the buck would be realized with a lower and more appropriately priced design and implementation. But that's just me; a Senior Building Systems Technician and CAD Designer.

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