Darlington’s beautification plans center on signage
By Samantha Lyles
At a recent meeting of the city of Darlington Beautification Board, members discussed plans to erect new signage around the city, including wayfaring signs and smaller scale welcome signs.
According to a project summary distributed at the meeting, the board’s 2016 Beautification Plan focused on upgrading public benches and trash cans that were “reaching the end of usefulness, or lacking a coherent aesthetic look.” With new glossy black benches and refuse cans now installed around the Public Square, the Board turns their attention to improving signage.
“Signs directing to local attractions and parking are limited, and the current signs often seem cluttered and lack cohesion,” the report explained. “To attract new business and residents, we must look at each aspect of our town as if we were a visitor or prospective buyer in this community.”
One new wayfaring sign has already been ordered for Highway 52 South, and this serves as a sample for how the others may look. The black post sports blue placards and white lettering, making it easily readable for motorists headed toward the Historic Commission, Mayo School, the City Pool or the Library.
Each freestanding sign costs about $2,000, and the Board proposes to install nine additional signs over time, pending support from the city of Darlington. Alternatively, the signs could be ordered and installed in phases, working on three at a time. The next targeted locations would be on Lamar Highway, Cashua Street, and Highway 52 North.
The board will also work toward installing new, smaller scale welcome signs along standard city entryway streets that lack adequate space for large welcome signage. The first of these signs could be installed on North Main Street (pending permission from SPC Credit Union) at a cost of $2,000. The board will request that the city of Darlington set aside $10,000 to complete this project.
Another top project for 2020 aims to add new lighting, permanent plantings and curved trellis along downtown’s Cashua Street walkway. The plantings would help hide pipes mounted on buildings, and the lighting would improve security and make visitors feel safer using this as a shortcut to the public parking lot. Estimated cost for the plantings is $1,000, and $2,000 for the lighting.
Other plans and goals for the year include installing more public trash cans downtown, adding new announcement centers (for event promotion banners, etc.), refurbishing fire hydrants, adding new city banners to lamp posts, improving plantings in downtown parking islands, landscaping the Carnegie Library grounds, adding new signage for the city’s Historic District, landscaping entrance signs at U.S. 52 / U.S. 52 Bypass, and various repairs and better lighting for public parking lots.
Board member Ronda Brown added words of praise for new lighting installed around the large welcome sign at Darlington’s Cashua Street entrance.
“When it’s lit up at night, you know you’re coming somewhere special,” Brown said.