City council approves ‘wayfinding’ signs in community

By Travis Gulbrandson

travis.gulbrandson@plaintalk.net

The Vermillion City Council voted to install approximately 17 “wayfinding” signs throughout the community that will direct visitors to local points of interest.

The action was taken at the council’s regular meeting on July 15.

The project will place signs near various locations around town, such as the downtown business district, city parks, the University of South Dakota Office of Admissions and Vermillion High School.

The project been under discussion for the past three years, and is estimated to cost approximately $20,000, which was included in the 2013 BBB budget.

“I think it’s a fabulous opportunity for us as a community, the (Vermillion Chamber & Development Company), city staff and the council to look at developing a style guide for not only wayfinding signs, but also welcoming signs at the entry points (of the community),” said council member John Grayson.

The signage has been considered since 2010, when the city was approached by the University of South Dakota about installing signs along such streets as Cherry and Dakota to direct USD traffic to admissions.

However, due to the locations and types of signs involved, neither the South Dakota Department of Transportation (DOT) nor the city allowed their installation, City Engineer Jose Dominguez said.

According to a memo distributed to the city council, the signs did not meet the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, which “sets all federally mandated standards for signs, striping, traffic control (and) traffic signals.”

However, Dominguez said the policies were reviewed by the DOT since 2010.

“They came back with a couple changes, which we incorporated into the ordinance as it stands right now,” Dominguez said. “The ordinance is going to delineate what items are going to be put on the wayfinding signs. They have to be civic, cultural or visitor attractions, and they essentially are just going to be directing tourists to certain locations of town.”

The state ordinance also requires what the signs will look like – black text on a white background with red arrows, along with a double border of red and black.

The City of Vermillion logo will be located on the top portion of each sign.

All the members of the council approved the ordinance.

An installation date was not given during the meeting.

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