By Randal Seyler
Record Staff Writer
Members of the Roswell Community Improvement Commission discussed ways to kick-start the city’s Downtown Master Plan implementation without spending a fortune.
The Downtown Master Plan was adopted in 2011, but most of the plan’s proposed improvements have yet to be implemented, Chairman Trey Nesselrodt said. The commission was considering ways the city could move forward with the wayfinding plan portion of the master plan.
“Wayfinding is the organization and communication of our dynamic relationship to space and the environment,” according to the Universal Design New York website.
Wayfinding in public spaces is commonly aided by maps, signs or directories.
Maps for handheld mobile devices are becoming common, as are digital information kiosk systems. Other frequent wayfinding aids are the use of color coding and signage clustering.
The trend started in England, and Commissioner Kent Taylor has prepared several examples for the commission illustrating wayfinding signage.
Support Services Administrator Sarah Juarez told the commissioners that a request for $100,000 for the wayfinding portion of the master plan was included in the city’s top 10 requests for funding from the state Legislature, but the funding would not be forthcoming until next year, if at all.
“Right now, it is number 10 on the list, and usually the council submits the top five projects to the Legislature,” she said.
“Why would it be so expensive?” asked Nesselrodt.
City Planner Marlin Johnson said that a consultant is typically used for such projects, and one consultant the city had considered using charges $10,000 per visit.
“I checked with the city sign shop, and it costs $29.75 to have them make a sign, and $26 for the pole it goes on,” Commissioner Court Nichols said.
“Surely, there is something we can do to get started on this,” Nesselrodt said. “We have a lot of artistic talent here; I think we could come up with designs and a plan for wayfinding.”
Taylor disagreed with Nichols on the point of having signs made by the city workshop.
“This ought to look good. That is getting by on the cheap.”
Taylor said the city needs to hire a designer to come up with sketches to give the city planner and the commission an idea of where to start on the project.
“Do we want neon signs, or will we use different colors and materials? We don’t know yet,” Nichols asked.
Taylor said the wayfinding project was chosen as a starting point because it is affordable, even if $10,000 sounds expensive. “This is something we can do to benefit the community.”
Johnson noted that the city is also in the process of constructing public restrooms downtown, which is also one of the projects found in the Downtown Master Plan.
Johnson also asked if members of MainStreet Roswell needed to be in attendance for the CIC’s discussions of the master plan.
A few minutes later, former city councilor and MainStreet Roswell board member Dusty Huckabee happened to stop by and was invited to join the discussion.
“Wayfinding was at the top of the list, and it was a $200,000 project,” Huckabee told the commissioners. “Of that, we planned on $100,000 for design — the color of the signs, where the signs go, what they look like — that is the No. 1 issue.”
Huckabee suggested the commissioners meet with New Mexico MainStreet for advice on how to continue.
Huckabee also suggested the commissioners look at the Artesia wayfinding signs as a good example.
“Artesia is just now getting wayfinding signs and they are nice, they have lots of money down there,” Huckabee said. “Hobbs did one on their own and it’s a mess.”