Sarasota News Leader

09/21/12

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Sarasota News Leader September 21, 2012 design. The Community Redevelopment Agency Advisory Board recommended fund- ing the project, because many of the desti- nations to be "way-found" are in downtown Sarasota. City commissioners approved $832,000 for phase one of the project, Smith said. He was briefing the DID as a dress re- hearsal for a formal presentation to the City Commission in late Sep- tember or early October. "Wayfinding informs people about things they don't know about," said Smith. He pointed to the years-long effort it took to get a sign on Interstate 75 saying, "Next Exit: Historic Downtown District.' "Before that sign, no- body driving on the interstate knew there was a historic down- town here," he said. In a similar fashion, once a visitor gets downtown, how does the person find the multitude of individual destinations? "The the- ater district, the opera — this will give them 60 destinations they may not know about," said Smith. Page 39 The first hint of wayfinding will appear on Fruitville Road, one of the entry arteries for visitors arriving in the county. A large "Welcome" sign will greet them and give them their first taste of the design for the markers they can spot to learn more. The program will eventually feature 360 signs throughout the city to help people find parking, shopping, dining, entertainment and cul- tural and scientific des- tinations. "All of them will meet [Flori- da Department of Transportation] and federal highway spec- ifications," Smith told the DID. In a prior incarnation of the wayfinding proj- ect, the DID promised to pay to help erect a downtown kiosk to serve as a specific di- rectory for businesses. Such a kiosk is not in the current plan, but Smith indicated it could be included. "We put $49,000 in es- crow for that," said DID Chairman Ernie Ritz. "We still don't know what they're going to do."

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