Monday night the Idaho Falls City Council and the public got a glimpse at the Master Way-Finding and Signage Program, and a chance to offer up their opinion.
The project is meant to promote tourism by highlighting key attractions and enhancing the visitor experience. Greg A. Weitzel, the Parks and Recreation director, worked with Hunt Design. Out of 14 competitors, Hunt Design had the lowest bid and was awarded the contract in August 2013.
"We have wonderful attractions for them to come and see, and that's really what this is all about," said Weitzel. "It's about making our city a better place to come and visit and also find their way around."
Right now, the signs around Idaho Falls lack consistency and appeal. Wayne Hunt, the principle founder of Hunt Design, sees potential.
"It's got great bones as a street-scape, the buildings are the right size, the streets are awful wide, which is a typical western thing, but there's a lot of space for organized signage," said Hunt.
Hunt Design has done similar projects in 30 cities from Sacramento, Calif. to Wichita, Kan. Hunt said Idaho Falls has a distinct culture, which he tried to convey in the designs.
"Right from the start, the idea of Idaho Falls having the best water feature ever, the Snake River and the water falls, has sort of driven the design concepts.
There are two concepts designed for welcoming visitors to Idaho Falls, as well as directing people around the city. Monday night the public had an opportunity to share their thoughts with the designers and Weitzel.
"Do you like it, what do you like, what don't you like, we want to get their input," said Weitzel.
The project would not only improve the appearance, but also direct people to attractions like the LDS Temple and the Museum of Idaho. The attraction focused on the most is the Tautphaus Park Zoo. The proposal has informational signs inside the zoo, as well as a possible name change to the Idaho Falls Zoo.
"People need to know that it is the Idaho Falls Zoo, and that it's not just a little zoo," said Weitzel. "We're the best little zoo in the West, and we say that proudly."
Weitzel said the master plan will eventually go before city council for approval. He predicted it would likely be a couple of years before the project is rolled out.