NEWBERRY — A proposed marketing system hopes to bring better direction to downtown Newberry with signs leading people to downtown and pointing out the major establishments in the downtown area.
Rodger Motiska of Rodger Motiska Design Inc. presented information at a public information session Wednesday at city hall after a project steering committee of seven community members met for six meetings every month.
The committee consisted of: Micah Decker, Newberry Opera House, City Resident; Scott Joyner and Jason Boice, Newberry College, City Residents; Sean Pomeroy, Architectural Review Board, Downtown Merchant, Downtown Merchants Association President; Ted Smith, Chamber of Commerce, City Resident; Barbra Miller, Downtown City Resident; Mac Bartley, Director of Public Works, City Resident; Ward Braswell, Director of Planning, Zoning and Development, City Resident; Al Harvey, City Manager, City Resident; Mayor Foster Senn, City Council, City Resident
While the proposed system has not been approved and finalized yet, Motiska hopes to have something upon approval after hearing comments from the public about the system.
If it’s approved, then final drawings will be created and it will go out to bid and if everything goes well, then Matt Dewitt, assistant city manager, said they are looking at a February time frame pending everything goes as planned.
There is no cost yet, according to Motiska as they are just in the conceptual phase of the planning.
Motiska points out that the objective is “to improve the public parking, find and navigate downtown better, provide pedestrians with directories and assistance and direction.”
“Wayfinding is the art of using landmarks, pathways, environmental cues to help first time visitors navigate without hesitation,” said Motiska.
“One thing we want too do is make it easy for visitors to find their way. We want to convey a brand identity,” said Motiska.
The wayfinding system will just surround the downtown area including the northern border near 10th Street stretching to Newberry College and Calhoun Street to Boundary Street and the rail line in the west side of downtown.
The system and signs would include the commercial downtown area, Newberry College, the visitor’s center/Chamber office, the Firehouse Conference Center, Newberry Opera House, the library and the Hampton Inn.
They will also look at the points people take to get to downtown, said Motiska which he elaborated later by saying that only 219 would include signs to downtown. They are also looking at exits 76, 74 and 72.
“The first thing we need to do is we need visitors to get to downtown,” said Motiska, which is why they recommend a trail blazer sign which he equated to a “trail of breadcrumbs.”
“Also, you need to know when you are downtown,” he said, emphasizing the gateway sign and he said there are three primary locations in consideration for that.
Then when people arrive, Motiska said they need to be navigated to the places, identify public versus private parking as well as signs for pedestrians when they get out of their car.
Motiska said that the signs need to be different than what the City of Newberry uses in order to create a brand and have a separate identity formed.
He explained that the committee looked at the classic, traditional style and combined it with some contemporary touches to represent a stylized version of the Opera House.
They will also use the color palette, brick red, blue gray and yellow gold, Motiska points out.
The signs that will be included are: a trailblazer, gateway, vehicular direction, parking direction, identity signs for public parking, pedestrian direction signs and navigation signs for pedestrians.
Motiska said that they are not going to overload the roads with signs and also will include the seven historic districts registered with the National Registry of Historic Places.
Motiska is looking at roughly a 12-week fabrication and installation period. Motiska has done work in Charlotte, N.C., Rock Hill and other major cities. His firm has also done college campuses including USC, Furman and Brevard.
Newberry would be the first smaller city for his firm with college campuses being the closest in terms of size.