$25K grant to improve signs throughout town

A $25,000 grant was awarded last week to city officials to help create wayfinding signs to direct visitors around the city.

The National Endowment for the Arts provided 69 Our Town grants across the U.S. totaling $5 million this year. They focus on art engagement, cultural planning, or designs.

Planning director Carrie Handy said the signs are expected to direct people to shopping and restaurants around town, the Allen Memorial Art Museum, theaters, the Oberlin Heritage Center, Frank Lloyd Wright House, and other landmarks in town.

City officials and Firelands Association for the Visual Arts staff are working together with eight other community organizations to create the wayfinding system.

The grant was a 50-50 match, which means the city will use $25,000 from its economic budget along with the grant to improve signs throughout Oberlin.

Handy said most of the money will go toward hiring a consultant to help create a logo and design for the city.

“We want to have someone help us create a brand,” she said.

To help create a logo and design for the signs, city officials plan to use feedback from residents about what they think when someone says “Oberlin.”

Handy has heard concerns from residents and visitors in the past that people cannot find certain businesses or landmarks around town.

“There is a need for signs,” Handy said. “We are going to look at the whole city.”

The grant can be used starting Oct. 1.

Valerie Urbanik can be reached at 440-775-1611 or on Twitter @ValUrbanik.