MURRAY — The City of Murray will be resubmitting its application for a grant to help the city highlight some of its notable landmarks for visitors following a decision made during the most recent meeting of the Murray City Council.
Erin Carrico, executive director for the Murray Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, said the project would help guide visitors to the city to locations they might not readily find through their GPS. This would include locations such as downtown Murray, for example.
“Wayfinding signs are directional signs in a community or town, or within a specific area of a town, that direct you to generalized locations,” Carrico said. “They direct you to campuses, they direct you downtown, in bigger cities, to an arts and cultural district, et cetera.”
Carrico said people might assume that they can just find such information through their phone or using a GPS, but she noted that people are not always sure of what they are looking for when visiting a community.
“Sometimes when you are a visitor in a new place, a lot of times you know that downtowns usually have local restaurants, but you don’t know the names of those restaurants, so how do you put ‘historic downtown’ into a GPS?” Carrico said. “The idea is to get them down here and then they can go exploring.”
Carrico said it is a newer idea to start utilizing such signage in smaller communities, but it is a trend that is catching on across the state.
“Slowly city municipalities and CVBs across the state are doing them,” she said. “Hopkinsville has a few and Lake Barkley has a few, so they are starting to become a trend in the smaller communities, which is pretty great.”
Carrico said the city originally applied for this grant in 2017, but due to a series of circumstances outside of their control, the process was delayed until a month ago.
“The project itself is right around $300,000,” Carrico said. “That would put these signs all over the community, and it would replace signs from welcome signs to the signs at the Chamber of Commerce. You would then have directional signs directing you towards parts of campus like Lovett Auditorium or the Curris Center, all the way to the library and downtown Murray.
“You would have this coordinated, cohesive sign system that visitors can start training their eyes to see.”
The $250,000 Transportation Alternative Program grant is through the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, and would require the CVB to match 20 percent of the proposed $300,000 project. During the most recent council meeting, Councilman Jeremy Bell said wayfinding signage is something the city needs to pursue regardless of whether the city gets the grant or not.
“I appreciate (the CVB) bringing this to us; they worked hard on this,” Bell said. “Their job is to get people to this city, and I think when we get those people here, we need to show them where they are going. That’s why I think if we don’t get this grant money, as a city, we should take this upon ourselves to get it done because I think it would be a very worthwhile project for us to take on.”