Bronze plaques point to Lenoir attractions

Apr. 24, 2013 @ 08:25 AM

City planners hoping to increase pedestrian traffic around Lenoir may soon complete their latest step: fastening onto sidewalks bronze directional signs pointing to landmarks and parks as a way to bring into relief the outdoor scene in the city.

The more than two dozen signs, separated by one-tenth of a mile, have started appearing in recent weeks on sidewalks along a few of the city’s main roads, including much of College Avenue and Mulberry Street.

They are seen by Nick Dula, director of downtown economic development in the city, as a “good pilot test” for plans by the city to promote outdoor attractions.

“Hopefully people are noticing them,” the said of the 30 bronze signs, cast by a Washington state fabrication company.

The idea of spreading something of compass system across some of the city took shape late last year, when the city received an $11,000 grant from the state Division of Public Health for efforts to promote health and fitness.

Arrows inscribed on the signs point to such attractions as the Martin Luther King Center on Greenhaven Drive and the Lenoir Downtown Farmers Market, which runs on Saturdays in the parking lot in the rear of the county office building on Harper Avenue starting in May. The signs also point to three parks across the city: J.E. Broyhill Park, West End Park and Unity Park.

In recent years planners have worked to polish the downtown streetscape with trees and decorative lighting as part of what Dula said is a long-term strategy by the city to leverage its outdoor scenery.

“People will move here for the climate and just the natural beauty,” he said. And “recreation is a way to enhance that.”