BLOOMINGTON — "Dream Big" would be the slogan featured on red, white and blue gateway and wayfinding signs coming soon to downtown Bloomington if the City Council adopts a proposed design and branding concept.

"The message encourages community members and the community to continue to achieve their greatest aspirations, to be creative and resourceful, and, most importantly, to persist with innovative solutions during times of adversity," said city planner Katie Simpson in a staff memo recommending the council approve the concept.

Tricia Stiller and Russel Francois, co-chairs of the Downtown Signage Committee, will present the concept to the council when it meets at 7 p.m. Monday at City Hall.

Over the past two years the committee met 47 times to create the proposed concept with the help of a consultant.

If the measure is approved, Bloomington would join Normal and other Illinois municipalities that have put up wayfinding signs leading people to and around their downtown districts. In 2009, higher-than-expected bids for signs helping people find uptown locations prompted the Normal City Council to scale down its wayfinding program.

In August 2016, the Bloomington City Council approved a $62,190 contract with Pittsburgh-based signage designer KMA Designs to provide wayfinding and branding design services focused on improving navigation to and around downtown Bloomington.

The Council also will consider on Monday amending the contract with KMA to develop detailed plans and specifications necessary to obtain bids for the manufacture of the signs. The additional services would be limited to $28,095.

The city's current budget allocates $250,000 for the project, and if the council approves the contract amendment, $221,905 would be available to construct and install the signs downtown.

Like downtown Bloomington's buildings, the wayfinding concept incorporates a blend of decorative styles and features, Simpson's memo noted.

The tagline, "Dream Big," is underlined by the stroke of a paintbrush, "a symbolic representation of artistic expression and the inclusive diversity prevalent in the downtown creative community," she said.

The signs' "bold, patriotic color pallete" represents Bloomington's historical political ties with Abraham Lincoln, the Adlai Stevenson family and David Davis, as well as the city's symbolic red chevron, she added.

The council also will consider approving the reappointment of committee members Carl Teichman, Vicki Tilton, Beth Whisman, Dave Park, Thom Jones, Crystal Howard and Tom Krieger.

In other action, the council will consider approving a $620,000 contract with S. Shafer Excavating of Pontoon Beach, which submitted the lowest of three bids to demolish the long-vacant Bloomington City Hall Annex and construct a retaining wall at the site.

The 15,000-square-foot office building and attached garage at 332 S. Main St., southwest of City Hall, has been vacant since 2008, and its roof has been leaking for several years.

The Bloomington Public Works Department wants to use the space created by the building's demolition to store vehicles being worked on at the city's fleet maintenance garage, but that will require the installation of a permanent metal retaining wall, said Assistant City Manager Steve Rasmussen.

Funds totaling $590,000 are available in the city's current budget for the project, and public works was going to contribute $91,000, using savings from lower motor fuel expenses, said Rasmussen.

But with the rise in fuel prices since Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, an earlier staff recommendation for a more costly option to add a concrete facade to the retaining wall was withdrawn, he said.

Follow Maria Nagle on Twitter: @Pg_Nagle



Reporter for The Pantagraph.

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