After months of work and years of discussion, six new wayfinding signs have popped up throughout Lincoln in an effort to help visitors have an easier time finding their way around town.
Initiated by members of the 2015-16 Leadership Lincoln County class, the idea served as the group’s community project, said Kelly Larson, class member and Lincoln County Economic Development director. As part of the annual program, each leadership class commits to developing and completing a community project it sees as needed to improve the county and further county goals.
During the past 15 years, the leadership program has helped local residents increase their understanding and awareness of the county’s assets, goals and challenges by going behind the scenes of local government, businesses, industries and community projects.
The idea for the wayfinding signs was spurred by a similar project by the county’s economic development travel and tourism taskforce. At the time, a new logo had been developed to market Lincoln County, which would eventually tie into welcome signs, a new website and marketing materials.
The idea for the wayfinding signs “just clicked” after the class learned the county task force was installing new welcome signs along Kansas highways 18 and 14. And while the new signs would direct visitors to Lincoln, there was nothing installed in town to direct them to community features such as ball fields, schools, parks, the library and the downtown area.
After settling on the idea, Larson said the group looked toward other communities, such as Salina and Belleville, as sources of inspiration. Eventually, the group was able to develop a high-quality design that reflected the color and tone of the Live Lincoln County logo.
But there were other details such as funding and approval from the city council and state transportation officials. And eventually, those plans came together last year during the spring and summer months when officials finally signed off, approving the signs and the locations where they would be placed.
The project, which cost a little more than $10,000, was eventually funded by contributions by the Dane G. Hansen Foundation, the Lincoln County Economic Development Foundation, the leadership class and an anonymous donation. Together, the group was able to collect more than $11,000 to cover the cost.
Members of the 2015-16 leadership class include Tyler Gier, Joe Biggs, Sheri Suelter, Nancy Walter, Larson and Lincoln High School students Dylan Babcock and Nathan Feldkamp.
“This is a project that has been discussed for several years by various community groups, the chamber of commerce and by past leadership class participants as a need, but has never got off the ground,” Larson said. “We (felt) it (was) finally time to implement this project.”