Fairfield Ledger
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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 17, 2017

New entrance sign coming, Blue Zones signs may be on way out

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By Andy Hallman, Ledger news editor | Oct 26, 2017
Courtesy of: Michael Halley This is an artist’s rendering of Fairfield’s new welcome sign on North Highway 1 near the pedestrian bridge.

 

The Fairfield City Council discussed signs Monday, both a new one planned for the north side of town and old ones that have to come down.

North entrance sign

City employees will install a new welcome sign on North Highway 1 later this year. The letters spelling out “Fairfield” will be made of limestone and resemble the welcome sign on South Highway 1. It will be 5 feet tall by 12 feet long, the same dimensions as the welcome signs on East and West Burlington Avenue.

Councilor Michael Halley said the foundation will be poured this fall, followed by installation of the letters and lights. The limestone blocks will be stacked without mortar, so working in freezing temperatures is no problem.

“This sign should last many generations, and should require little maintenance,” Halley said.

Funding for the sign came from various entities. The largest piece came from a local option sales tax grant of $6,250, followed by a grant from the Jefferson County Foundation for $5,000. The Fairfield Convention & Visitors Bureau gave $3,000. The wayfinding commission gave $1,000, as did the Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce and Fairfield Economic Development Association. Fairfield Rotary has pledged to give its “happy bucks” for a month, which could total $300-$400.

Halley said the council approved the sign after different civic groups recommended a new welcome sign in studies conducted each of the last three years, starting with community visioning in 2015, a visitor’s assessment in 2016 and a wayfinding signage group in 2017.

“We heard the same recommendation three times in a row,” Halley said. “The sign we have there was built by Creative Edge, and it’s beautiful, but it was built before the pedestrian bridge. Now it makes more sense for a sign to be closer to pedestrians.”

Halley said he’s spoken to the Boy Scouts about moving the existing sign to somewhere else in the city.

 

Blue Zones signs

For the past several years, Fairfield’s restaurants, grocery stores, businesses, schools and city hall have undertaken programs to increase fitness and healthy eating. In 2015, the town was honored for its efforts when it was named a “Blue Zones Community,” an initiative of Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Healthways, Inc. and Blue Zones LLC.

Earning the designation cost the city nothing, and came with Blue Zones placards to hang throughout town. However, Blue Zones LLC is now requesting the city remove those signs and replace them with new ones. The city also learned that maintaining its designation as a “Blue Zones Community” will come with a fee in future years.

The new signs are identical to the old except that Wellmark’s logo has been replaced by the year “2017,” reflecting the fact Wellmark no longer sponsors the Blue Zones initiative. Blue Zones LLC has given the city until Jan. 1 to change the signs.

Mayor Ed Malloy was not thrilled to hear the request to replace the signs. He said that, if the Blue Zones LLC group wanted to replace the signs, they could come get them.

Halley, a member of both the Fairfield Blue Zones committee and the wayfinding signage commission, said:

“My personal feeling is that Fairfield got everything out of participating in Blue Zones we can get, and that the changes that were made – some permanent, some temporary – aren’t contingent on maintaining a certain status or dispalying certain signs.”

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