A new regional wayfinding sign system to guide people to key destinations in seven Northwest Arkansas cities will begin going up in Eureka Springs this week.
While Eureka Springs will be the first city where the signs will be installed, similar-looking signs will be put up in Bella Vista, Rogers, Lowell, Springdale, Fayetteville and Siloam Springs this month. Each community’s signs will have their own unique aspects, but they are similar enough that they’ll give the region a consistent system to guide people to destinations.
“What I love about the regional wayfinding project is that it unites Northwest Arkansas in a visual way,” said Rogers Mayor Greg Hines, a member of the regional wayfinding steering committee. “The signs will make tourists feel like insiders, and they’ll remind local residents of the great places right here that are perfect for weekend outings.”
Officials at the University of Arkansas and Bentonville first raised the idea of a regional wayfinding system a few years ago, and the region’s first wayfinding signs went up in Bentonville a few months before the 2011 opening of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. The signs going up now and being used by the other seven cities are patterned after the Bentonville system, but each city’s signs will have their own unique qualities.
A grant from the Walton Family Foundation to Endeavor Foundation, in partnership with the Northwest Arkansas Council, is covering the cost of the first phase, which is considered the pilot project. Those signs are intended to guide people to one key destination in each community.
“The wayfinding project is a terrific example of regional cooperation,” said Mike Malone, president and CEO of the Northwest Arkansas Council. “We had so many partners — the cities, the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission, the University of Arkansas, the Arkansas Highway and Transportation
Department, chambers of commerce, Endeavor and the Council — working together on a project that required coordination, agreements, collaboration and funding. They all did a great job of ensuring that this moved from a concept to a reality.”
As part of the grant terms, the cities agreed to install more of the wayfinding signs to other destinations within five years.
Concrete footings are being poured in each of the cities just a week or two before the signs are to be installed. All the wayfinding signs in the pilot project should be installed this month.