First look: Lenoir's gateway sign and vehicular way finding

First look: Lenoir's gateway sign and vehicular way finding

As a part of the citywide rebranding effort, plans for a new gateway sign across from Smith Crossroads in Lenoir are officially in the works. 

The sign, which will feature a board-formed concrete wall, halo backlighting, and translucent panels with backlighting, will greet everyone entering Lenoir with the recently developed  “Create With Us” tagline and branding. 

Design Concept

Lenoir city council members and department heads voted citywide branding and way finding as a top priority during the Feb. 4 Strategic Planning Retreat, a day-long meeting where city officials gathered to discuss the upcoming year. 

In addition to the Smith Crossroads gateway sign, way finding signs and other gateway signs will be added around the city. 

Kaylynn Horn, Lenoir’s Downtown Economic Development director, said, “a well-crafted way finding signage system further develops the community’s unique sense of place, expressing the personality of a community, instilling a feeling of pride for residents and business owners.”   

“Way finding and gateway signage increases travel ease with clear signage allowing individuals to navigate much faster and reach their destinations sooner, leaving a lasting impression for residents and visitors alike,” she said. 

Horn says in addition to making travel easier, “way finding systems drive economic growth by funneling traffic through centers of commerce, driving economic interaction and awareness while helping residents and visitors travel between meaningful locations.”    

The way finding sign system will simultaneously serve as a public art program with the city having plans to partner with local artists.

According to the concept drafts, select signs will feature “Creator Themes” with custom art designs showcasing the arts, technology, and the outdoors; all areas of focus for the City of Lenoir's new “Create With Us” branding.  

Funding for the way finding signs is still in progress, with the city looking towards a North Carolina Commerce Tourism Grant. However, the gateway sign at Smith Crossroads has been approved by the Lenoir Tourism Development Authority (LTDA) and implementation has begun.  

“The Lenoir Tourism Development Authority agreed to pay for the sign as their charge is to promote visitor traffic and tourism in our area,” Horn said.

Horn explained that the LTDA receives their funding from occupancy taxes obtained from visitors staying in hotels in the county and other overnight stay accommodations. 

“The LTDA strongly believes that a well-crafted way finding system will not only welcome our visitors to our community but guide them to the many assets that are here within our community,” she said. “Visitors and residents might discover unique assets that they may not have even realized were here in Lenoir, like our Zack's Fork Mountain Bike Trails or the numerous Lenoir Greenway and Overmountain Victory Trail connections.”

While there is no current estimation as to when the project will be finalized, Horn says the beginning stages are well underway. 

“Destination by Design, a planning, design and communication firm in Boone, NC, is currently developing construction details and will be sending these out for bid in the very near future,” Horn said.

Eric Woolridge, president and planning director for Destination by Design, said, "the new gateway sign is a natural extension of the city’s new branding efforts.”

“This installation will celebrate the hard-working and creative citizens that call Lenoir home while inviting visitors to experience the area's rich history, friendly people, and vibrant business community," he said. 

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1 comment

I love this! Way to be proactive and draw people into our community, very forward-thinking.

Gail Ramsdell

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