2015-01-09 / Community

Town moves forward on wayfinding signs

By Duke Harrington
Staff Writer

KENNEBUNK — The Kennebunk Board of Selectmen is doing all it can to disprove that old Maine expression, “You can’t get there from here.”

At its most recent meeting, the board voted unanimously to approve final design changes to wayfinding signs, to be installed throughout town this summer.

About 15 to 20 of the blue signs, each about 8 to 10 feet in height, will be placed at so-called “gateways” into town, and at key intersections, to direct motorists to local services and amenities. In an effort to maintain consistent branding with the town’s Economic Development Committee, the West Kennebunk Committee and the Lower Village Committee, as well as with the chamber of commerce, each sign will be topped with the image of a Lafayette Elm, along with the words “Kennebunk, Settled c.1640,” and the motto, “The Only Village in the World So Named.”

In approving the latest design, the board of selectmen also gave Town Manager Barry Tibbetts the green light to solicit quotes. At previous meetings on the topic, Tibbetts has ballparked a cost of between $750 and $1,250 per sign, including installation.

“We do have a little but of money set aside, but not enough to do the whole project,” he said at the Dec. 9 meeting. “I think we’re ready to send this off for pricing so we can bring it back at budget time.”

The wayfinding project follows similar efforts undertaken in Scarborough and South Portland in the past two years, both using similar design schemes, albeit with different color and image motifs. However, at least some on Kennebunk’s governing board see the signs as more than a simple guide to commuters, envisioning them as a first move toward a more comprehensive, town-wide policy.

“I think this is a big step toward a direction I think is appropriate for the town,” said Chairman Kevin Donovan. “It brings it into the quaint New England village type of environment. It would be the stepping stone I hope we get to before I step down from here [the board of selectmen], and that is we eliminate all interior-lit signs in this town, and have only exterior-lit signs. I’d be delighted if we could step in that direction.”

However, not all selectmen seemed thrilled with the project.

“I think they look cluttered,” said Selectman Deborah Beal. “It’s a lot of them. I just think it’s overkill. We could do half the signs and take out one for every one we put in.”

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