Elk River hears proposal from sign consultant

by Joni Astrup

Associate Editor

The Elk River City Council is considering whether to hire a sign consultant.

Such a consultant would help bring a consistent look to the city’s signs and craft a way-finding signage plan that would direct people to areas such as downtown, parks, landmarks, public facilities, retail areas and other amenities.

Ten companies submitted proposals ranging from $20,500 to $150,000. A city sign committee chose Visual Communications, a St. Paul sign design and consultation firm whose services would cost $65,000, for consideration by the City Council. Hoisington Koegler Group, a planning, landscape architecture and urban design firm in Minneapolis, would be a sub-consultant on the project.

Richard Lang of Visual Communications made a presentation to the City Council on Monday; no action was taken that night, but the council will consider it again at a future meeting.

“Signing is your signature,” Lang told the council. “It tells people who you are … so that signage look is very important.”

If the city hires Visual Communications, Lang said their goal would be to create a citywide signage master plan that would be good for the next 25 to 50 years. It would include plans for primary and secondary gateway entrance signs as well as signs for key intersections, signature parks and secondary parks and directory and directional signs.

Lang said Visual Communications would work with the city to design signs that the city could make. City Administrator Cal Portner said he believes the city could make a lot of the signs in-house.

The consulting team would also offer help identifying state, local and federal grants as possible sources of funding for signs.

Visual Communications has done work for a variety of entities including Wayzata, Rockford, Mound, St. Louis Park, Como Park and the Duluth Skyline Parkway.