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New welcome sign in the works for downtown Morris

Concept photo of what the Morris Downtown Development Partnership would like its latest downtown Morris sign look like.
Concept photo of what the Morris Downtown Development Partnership would like its latest downtown Morris sign look like.

MORRIS – The Morris Downtown Development Partnership hopes to have its new “Welcome to Nostalgic Downtown Morris” sign up for this summer’s events season.

MDDP Executive Director Julie Applegate gave an update Thursday morning on the design of the sign to the Development Review Committee. It will be located in the public parking lot at the corner of Washington Street and Route 47.

“After talking with Ray [Grossi], we need to make the sign the focus, not the base, so we increased the size of the sign and increased the height of the sign,” she said.

MDDP has been working with Grossi, of Midwest Signworks, on the design, as well as with architect Greg Lyons for the base of the sign. The sign is currently designed at about 14 feet tall, but could be taller to make sure it is seen over nearby parked cars.

The organization needs to raise about $25,000 for the sign and is looking into grants and other fundraising options, Applegate said Friday. The MDDP will also seek donations of materials as well.

The goal is to have it up by this summer.

“We’d love to have it up by the first of June because that’s when all our events begin. That’s our goal,” she said.

The sign was first discussed in 2012 after the old Save-A-Lot grocery store was torn down and the property made into a parking lot by Grundy County. MDDP brought the sign up then to welcome visitors, direct them to the downtown and advertise local events.

At the DRC Thursday, Applegate and the committee discussed lighting for the sign, as well as the material that will be used for the base of the sign.

With one variation of the sign, there are light poles next to it that match the light poles throughout the downtown, which Applegate commented were very nice. But there is a concern the light poles would be a distraction from the sign. But the sign will be lighted somehow.

Brick is being considered for the base of the sign, but also could take focus away from the sign, and brick is expensive, she said.

“The brick looks very nice, but if you want to cut costs, maybe a stackable paver block,” Building and Zoning Officer Bill Cheshareck said. “The expense cost goes down drastically, but it still has a nice effect.”

Applegate said the MDDP also dreams of an electronic sign, but the cost is not feasible for the organization’s budget. But it could be designed in order to accommodate an electronic sign in the future. The appeal is having a lighted listing of upcoming events scrolling on a screen.

In the meantime, the MDDP is looking into making the sign so part of it includes interchangeable letters or a place for banners to advertise events.

The MDDP is still working on different design options so the DRC took no action on the sign.

Know More
For more information or to donate toward the sign monetarily or through materials, contact Julie Applegate at 815-941-0245.

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