The first of nearly 300 regional wayfinding signs are being installed in Fayetteville and six other cities in Northwest Arkansas.
The signs are part of a project funded in part by a grant from the Walton Family Foundation to Endeavor Foundation, in partnership with the Northwest Arkansas Council.
The idea is to de-clutter the area by replacing the various types of wayfinding signs scattered across each city with a new system of matching signage. Officials hope the program will help visitors more easily navigate the region by guiding them to key destinations.
Rob Smith, a spokesman for the Northwest Arkansas Council, said the idea of a regional wayfinding system was first proposed a few years ago after new signage went up in Bentonville shortly before the opening of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.
The signs going up now in Eureka Springs, Fayetteville, Lowell, Rogers, Siloam Springs and Springdale are patterned after the Bentonville system, but each city’s signs have their own unique color qualities.
The grant money will pay for the cost of the first 60 signs. As part of the grant terms, each city agreed to fund and install the remaining signs within five years.
Destinations to receive signs in Fayetteville: Air/Military Museums, Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, Chamber of Commerce, Clinton House Museum, Dickson Street District, Downtown Square, Fayetteville District Court, Fayetteville Public Library, Fayetteville Visitors Center, Gary Hampton Park, Gulley Park, Lake Fayetteville, U.S. District Courthouse, Uptown District, University of Arkansas, Walker Park and Walton Arts Center.
Source: City of Fayetteville
Smith said several of the cities have already worked out ways to complete their signage this year, including Fayetteville where 11 signs have been installed near I-540 interchanges and in the downtown area.
The city and the Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission have agreed to spend about $125,000 to help fund 38 more signs set to be placed around town this fall.
Jeremy Pate, the city’s development services director, said not all of the remaining signs will be as large as what’s out there right now. Pate said the city has control over sign sizes on local streets, whereas the Highway Department sets its own regulations for signs on state roadways based on the posted speed limit.
“The wayfinding project is a terrific example of regional cooperation,” said Mike Malone, president and CEO of the Northwest Arkansas Council. “We had so many partners — the cities, the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission, the University of Arkansas, the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, chambers of commerce, Endeavor and the Council — working together on a project that required coordination, agreements, collaboration and funding. They all did a great job of ensuring that this moved from a concept to a reality.”