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Buena Vista Board of Trustees approved phase I of the town’s new way-finding signage at its Jan. 22 trustees meeting. The first seven signs, placed along U.S. 24 and Main Street (CR 306), will direct residents and visitors to popular town destinations, including downtown shopping, the boulder park and river parks.

“It’s taken us three years to get this far,” said Emily Katsimpalis, assistant to the town administrator. “We’re coordinating the signage with the other project in phase I, the installation of a downtown welcome kiosk. We really want that installed before Memorial Day weekend.”

The town has worked with the Colorado Department of Transportation for sign location and design approval because signs will be installed on CDOT right-of-way. It budgeted $25,000 in the 2018 budget for this phase, with $2,500 coming from a DOLA (Department of Local Affairs) Main Street Program grant. The original phase I plan called for six signs, but one additional way-finding sign was added on U.S. 24 for traffic driving south from Leadville.

Outlined in a 42-page Signage & Way-Finding Plan, the signs were created to achieve several goals for the town. First among them is what is called “place-making” to reinforce a sense of Buena Vista as a unique and historic place with its own identity. The clearly visible signage will direct visitors to what the plan calls the town’s “character areas.” While the design is clearly attractive, its purpose is economic: to help increase sales tax revenues and general interest in the community.

Now that the trustees have given approval, the final sign designs will go back to CDOT and, with their approval, put out for bid. The construction cost of the welcome kiosk is covered by the grant. It will be placed on a temporary lease on railroad property along East Main Street. Kiosk installation will include sidewalk and decorative rock enhancements.

“This is a phased signage plan,” said Town Administrator Phillip Puckett. “The second phase includes two, big main gateway entrance signs, one on each end of town on U.S. 24. Right now those are planned to be constructed by 2021. They’re budgeted at $18,000 each.”

While it was noted that the town has all year to spend the money, Puckett said that staff was driving toward installation prior to the high summer tourist season.