July 2, 2016

Mostly clear

Medina officials consider downtown sign project

signsaMEDINA — In the near future, it might be a little easier for visitors and newcomers to Medina to find their way around town.

The city is looking at the Wayfinding Program, which could lead to signs that point the way to places such as parking areas, government offices, the hospital and hot spots in the historic district like Root Candles and the Medina County Historical Society’s John Smart House.

The Wayfinding idea came out of the city’s comprehensive and strategic planning process. The strategic plan, which City Council passed in 2005, outlines city growth, and the comprehensive plan breaks it down and sequences projects so they can be articulated in an efficient manner, from finance and planning to the action steps needed to accomplish them.

signsbMayor Jane Leaver said she thought the Wayfinding Program would be appropriate to help keep the downtown area viable and preserve the uniqueness of the historic district. She said work done by planning committees and community focus groups indicated people perceived a lack of parking and difficulty in finding parking spots.

“We have a decent amount of parking, but people new to the area may not know where it is,” Leaver said.
Since the city is constructing a parking deck behind the Medina County Courthouse, she said it will have an impact on “some of the scaling down officials are doing” concerning the Wayfinding Program.

signscCorbin Design out of Traverse City, Mich., developed sign prototypes with input from focus groups, the Community Design Committee and the Historic Preservation Board so signs would comply with historic district requirements.

The design process cost the city about $57,000. The original estimate for the entire program, from design through installation, was about $400,000. Signage included map directories placed in strategic areas, she said.

“That was not an option,” Leaver said, adding the size of the first prototype was large, and the company was asked to scale it back.

signsdSome signs deemed less important also were taken out of the mix, and the project was broken down into phases that would allow the city to pay for and implement over time. The estimate for the first phase is about $152,000. Individual signs could average about $3,000, depending on the complexity of the information on the sign, she said.

At a Council-of-the-Whole meeting Monday, Councilman Mark Kolesar said he thought there was value in the program, and he liked the concept, but not the cost.

Council approved a short list of six firms for the project and is expected to authorize advertising for bids for the actual production and installation at its Aug. 24 meeting. Once bids are received, Council will decide whether to proceed with the first phase, which would include the Historic District and government office signage.

If approved, installation of first-phase signs probably could begin in spring 2010, Leaver said.

Contact Judy A. Totts at (330) 721-4063 or religion@ohio.net.