Monument signs to spruce up downtown

By Curtis Riggs | August 6, 2008

Mini-Sundials will direct people to Easy Street

CAREFREE – On Tuesday Town Council laid the final piece of the puzzle for the pending downtown improvements, which will be completed by the tourist season.

By a 5 – 1 vote, the council approved spending $55,000 for the installation of four monument signs which will direct visitors into the Easy Street business district. The Carefree Sundial replicas will be placed at Wampum Way and Tom Darlington, Lucky Lane and Tom Darlington at Hum and Cave Creek Road and at Carefree Drive where the new right-turn (deceleration) lanes will be installed next month.

Smaller information signs will hang from the monument signs, which are expected to be around seven-feet high.

The mounting expense of this year’s downtown improvements, the lack of sign models to choose from and the height of the signs were issues raised by Bob Coady, who first began to question the rush to get downtown spruced up when the faux gas lamp district was approved.

As has been the norm since discussions about downtown improvements began six months ago, there was a spirited debate about the future of downtown between Coady and those who ardently support the improvements.

“Where did these signs come from?” Coady asked. His major problem with the approval is only one sign prototype was presented to the council. “It was just like the firehouse – take it or leave it.”

Carefree Planning Director Gary Neiss responded the sign model was presented at a community open house and the Sundial is an “iconic element” that is both unique and catchy.

“At the open house the majority of the people said they love the design,” he said.
He added the Town “hit a home run” with the signs and details about them will be worked out later.

Councilman Bob Gemmill said the most advantageous thing about the signs is their simple design.

Councilman Glenn Miller said the Town is obligated to help downtown businesses because they provide the sales-tax revenue the Town needs to operate.

Councilman David Schwan stated it is important to invest in downtown even though the investment is not a sure thing. He added the new signs would also help Carefree with its sign clutter problem.