Just follow the signs if you want to find downtown Mount Clemens and its city attractions.
The Downtown Development Authority of this Macomb County city - the county seat - is putting more than $250,000 into signs that help visitors find their way to and around town.
More than 40 aptly-named wayfinding signs started going up last week and will be completed by year's end, says Mount Clemens DDA Director Arthur Mullen.
The signs are a growing form of municipal marketing, going from a macro to micro view, steering visitors from major thoroughfares toward the city, its downtown, and various attractions. And ultimately they show the way to parking and then sidewalk routes.
There will also be a downtown kiosk printed with an overview map, while other area maps in various spots make up the wayfinding system. Maps are also on the website of Mount Clemens DDA.
Designed by a Traverse City company called Corbin Design
, the signs also depict Gratiot Avenue, one of the city's main inlets and outlets, as a loop that turns around errant drivers.
Besides directing visitors, the hope is to attract businesses who see the approach as a benefit for their customers. Complaints about navigating the city that has a river cutting through it and a complicated system of roads drove the idea of coming up with a signage system, a project started in 2008.
"Let's say someone needs to go and see the Crocker House
, the Anton Art Center
, the Michigan Transit Museum
," some of the city's popular destinations, Mullen says. "The whole key about wayfinding is really improving the visitor experience. Anyone who's not familiar with an area hates to get lost…The signs can make the entire experience of getting to a destination a pleasant one," he explains. "You're driving in a car, you're worried about getting in an accident, getting lost…With the signs you're more at ease and you feel like the community cares about you because they've made an investment in helping you get there."
Mullen says museums and other institutions have found the signs may be responsible for a 10 percent increase in visits within two years after being posted.
Source: Arthur Mullen, director, Mount Clemens Downtown Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine