The town of Zanesville in Ohio, with a population 25,487 (according to the 2010 census), is by most standards a quintessentially small town. But it thinks big. And the recent implementation of signage to help bolster its tourist activity is just one example of that. Recently, the Zanesville Muskingum County Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Association put their heads together and came up with a scheme to improve tourism in the community.
The two drew inspiration from online research and trips to the “Over the Rhine” and “short north” (in Columbus) districts, models of revitalization, which have been very successful in engaging visitors in the state. The plan involves using signs to give full play to what the city offers, using design themes and cues from those bigger cities.
To make more information available to visitors, when the welcome center is closed, signs are now displayed to direct visitors to various areas: restaurant, arts and culture, recreation, and other relevant business sectors. Each sector – restaurant, shopping, etc. – is color-coordinated, so that people can easily identify which type of businesses are located where.
Cognizant of the ubiquity of technology and the need to appeal to a more tech-savvy demographic, the signs are scan-able for I phones. Visitors can now scan the signs and connect to the city’s website which gives even more detail about a business or area of the district.
Hopes are high for this initiative, and the city plans to place another sign on Main Street and possibly more will follow. Funding for the signs was provided by the 2013 Downtown Association Membership Drive and, if all goes well, that investment in interactive signage and visitor and tourism support will likely pay off in dividends far into the future.