Over the coming weeks, brand new signs and colorful art will be popping up in and around downtown Clinton.
Clinton-Sampson Planning director Mary Rose recently announced that the city obtained a sizable grant that will see more than a dozen signs installed that indicate where parking and key landmarks in the downtown area are located.
“We were fortunate to be awarded $11,250 for 12 downtown parking lot identification signs and two primary trailblazers like the wayfinding trailblazers we are hoping to begin installing,” said Rose, noting that process would be continuing this week.
The grant is from the N.C. Division of Public Health’s Community & Clinical Connections for Prevention & Health branch.
Of the signs, one will be one at the “Milling Around” art piece parking lot off College Street, another near the City Market on Lisbon Street, and a third in front of the law offices of Warrick, Bradshaw and Lockamy PA further down College Street.
“Initially we have eight wayfinding trailblazers being installed at this time and will be fortunate to use the $11,250 grant to purchase the additional 12 downtown parking lot identification signs and two primary trailblazers,” said Rose, who noted that those two signs will be placed on Sunset Avenue along an expanded N.C. 24, directing the traveling public to Royal Lane Park and Sampson Community College.
“We are hopeful these can be installed by the end of the year,” she said.
The planning director noted that the city was very fortunate to have several planning documents, specifically the Clinton 2035 Comprehensive Plan, Clinton Pedestrian Plan and Clinton Bicycle Plan, completed in recent years to refer back to as part of its grant applications. Those plans, Rose said, exhibited how the City Council, Clinton Main Street Design Committee, planning staff and other community stakeholders have participated in developing the wayfinding system.
“As planning director, I believe these documents and the measures we have developed to measure the impact of these signs were key to a successful grant award for the City of Clinton,” Rose remarked.
Lori Rhew, special projects coordinator for the organization, noted as much in the award notice application, saying the project was selected “because of the program that you are implementing and your plan for measuring the success of your program.”
In addition to the signs, a much-discussed Downtown Recycle Art Walk (DRAW) on Ferrell Street is coming to life, bolstered by local partnerships and some painting this past week. City crews and summer intern Rachel Chavez put a splash of color on a city-owned building, the first stage in another public art project locally.
“We are working with some high school students and they have already turned in some art, with the theme of recycling,” said Rose. “We are partnering with young artists to decorate a portion of downtown that is somewhat underutilized.”
In a recent presentation to City Council, Chavez talked about the importance of local artists in bringing public art ideas to life. The recycling art theme is already being showcased on large city trucks and will soon also be exhibited at the old Caison building, where selections that did not make the trucks were put on display. The building has been spruced up in the form of a colorful canvas where the new selections will ultimately take their place.
Rose said she expects an unveiling of the project in September. And the project will likely have legs past this year as sidewalks are being constructed further down Ferrell Street toward Morisey Boulevard.
Programs like DRAW and other public art initiatives “require the willingness and input of all citizens and leaders,” Chavez stated.
“We want Clinton to be an entity with an identity,” she told Council in her presentation. “Public art engages citizens of all backgrounds and should be a critical part of the city’s branding. It is a good investment with relatively low cost, and you’ll find a lot of community citizens want to be a part of movements and initiatives like this. Support from the community is important.”
“Public art and beautification provides inviting spaces that makes busy lives slow down and appreciate Clinton,” Chavez said.
Rose said the prospect of more public art offerings for everyone to enjoy is much anticipated.
“We are really excited about things to come,” she stated.
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