By Rich Pollack
They are the first things motorists entering Highland Beach see — either from the north or the south — but the town’s entry signs are no longer very inviting.
“They’re made of wood and they are rotting,” Vice Mayor Natasha Moore said. “They are beyond repair.”
Armed with a budget of as much as $75,000 for each of the gateway signs, town officials are in the process of coming up with replacements — and they want residents to help.
As early as this month the town will put out a request to residents for design ideas on what the signs should look like.
While some of the nitty- gritty details still need to be worked out, the town hopes that residents will either sketch out a design idea or take a photo of a sign that might serve as a model for the new town signs and send it in.
Moore, who is leading the effort, says the tentative plan is to have commissioners look over the submissions, narrow them down to a reasonable number and then put the choice out to residents for a vote.
The person who submits the winning design, Moore said, will get bragging rights and most likely recognition on or beside each new entry sign.
Moore and other commission members see the contest as a way to continue strengthening relationships between the town and the community.
“The goal of the project is to replace the signs and to encourage residents to be a part of the process,” she said. “We value resident input and we want to be in partnership with them.”
The contest, she said, is at least partially in response to feedback from residents following a March referendum where some in town said they wanted to have more involvement in community decisions.
Moore said she is hoping residents embrace the idea of a contest and come up with ideas that can be developed.
“You don’t have to be a graphic designer,” she said, adding that ideas can be submitted either electronically or on paper.
Some ideas, she said, could come from signs residents see during summer travel, even overseas.
The chosen design, Moore said, could also be used as part of the signage in front of Town Hall.
“I think the signs are important to residents,” she said. “They’re a reflection of our town and they set a tone for people coming into town.”