New look coming soon for Centre Street signage

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Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
March 6, 2019 5:00 p.m.

Via unanimous vote at their March 5, 2019 Regular Meeting, the Fernandina Beach City Commission (FBCC) passed Resolution 2019-43 approving Dawson Associates LLC as a sole source vendor to place new wayfinding signage in the downtown area at a cost of $182,000. The money will be paid from impact fees.

Existing signage on streetlight outside Post Office on Centre Street

Fernandina Beach Main Street last year obtained the services of Dawson Associates LLC with funding assistance from a state study and recommend themed signage for downtown Fernandina Beach to replace the mishmash of signs that have proliferated over the years.  A wide audience of stakeholders participated in the process of coming up with a new design, which was presented to the community last fall . The city and Fernandina Beach Main Street have worked together on this project.

New street directories will replace the green signs that are suspended from poles at cross street intersections.  Those signs were paid for by merchants, who will not be required to pay for the new signs.  Placement of signs will also expand into city parking lots.

City Attorney Tammi Bach, at the request of commissioners, investigated whether projects such as this could be funded from impact fees, which have traditionally been used only to pay for new construction.  Upon investigation Bach concluded that she could justify spending impact fees on this project because there is a “reasonable relationship” between the collection of impact fees and needs related to population growth.  The ability to fund this project with impact fees means that General Fund tax dollars will not be required.

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Vice Mayor Kreger reiterated a position taken at a Chamber of Commerce meeting that when the project specifications are laid out, Dawson will make all efforts to ensure that local businesses have the opportunity to bid on the work. 

Suanne Thamm 4Editor’s Note: Suanne Z. Thamm is a native of Chautauqua County, NY, who moved to Fernandina Beach from Alexandria,VA, in 1994. As a long time city resident and city watcher, she provides interesting insight into the many issues that impact our city. We are grateful for Suanne’s many contributions to the Fernandina Observer.

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6 Responses to New look coming soon for Centre Street signage

  1. Jim Bryan says:

    What is wrong with the current signage?

  2. Bill Lamp says:

    I like the ” reasonable relationship” between downtown and population growth. lol. Bill L.

  3. David White says:

    Correction, the old signs were paid for by the customers of merchants.

  4. Teri D. Springer says:

    Hmmm…..Ok, I could see UPDATING the old signs by choosing one design and requiring them to be all the same. Same font; same color. Something that fits with the local flavor. But replacing ALL the signs? The current signs can be read as you are slowly driving through town allowing you to park in the general vicinity of your destination. The new signs are designed strictly for pedestrian use. So, are visitors to guess where to go? Or are they to stop in the middle of the street so that someone can jump out to check the sign??

    And why was a company from MA chosen to do this work? Was there NO ONE on the island, or even Nassau County who can make signs? Seriously?? Spending money with a company over 1000 miles away supports that company and their local economy. I guess supporting local businesses and the local economy is not a concern of our City Commission (it’s certainly not a concern of Main Street).

    Shame on everyone involved in this.

  5. Myra Mains says:

    The funny part about this in reality in this day and age if people are looking for something the use their phone. From experience at many different functions through the year, people do not read signs.

  6. When the Fernandina Beach Main Street project started this effort, a state grant was written to solicit bids. Dawson Associates won that bid and as a branding and design firm assisted Main Street volunteers with developing a look that mirrors much of the signage first implemented in Fernandina in the late 1970’s by the Restoration Foundation. The graphic work for these signs will be bid locally. All the work currently being done by the Main Street program tries to return to that group’s vision for downtown. Over the years, much of that original vision has been deteriorating. We are also working with FDOT to ensure signage is safe. They strongly discourage having signs intended to be read by people driving their cars. The result of this project will be far fewer signs downtown with the emphasis being to get people to parking spots, out of their cars and into our businesses, shopping and eating. If anyone has questions about what Main Street — part of a state and national program — is doing and our motives, please contact me at [email protected]

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