The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

January 27, 2013

New welcome sign to rise in Conneaut, money sought for 2 more

By MARK TODD - mtodd@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

CONNEAUT — A big, brightly-colored, informational welcome sign will be installed soon on Route 20, and donations are being sought to purchase two more.

The initiative, more than a year in the making, is the work of the Conneaut Board of Tourism and its off-shoot, the Signs for Conneaut Exploratory Committee, said Connie Naylor, tourism board chairperson. The groups have secured funds to purchase a 10-foot sign that could be delivered within the next few weeks that will be erected at the Conneaut-North Kingsville line by city workers.

The sign will bear a likeness of the Conneaut Harbor lighthouse and will also mention some of the city’s premiere attractions, such as the D-Day re-enactment, covered bridges, wineries, museums and beaches. On the flip side is a “thanks for visiting” message.

Two more signs will be purchased and ordered when enough money is raised, Naylor said. The tourism board has spent more than $4,500 of its 2012 budget on the signs, raised another $283 plus secured a $500 grant from the Ashtabula County Convention and Visitors Bureau. A total of $7,600 is needed to complete the three-sign project, and the board is turning to the public for help, Naylor said.

“No contribution is too small,” she said.

The Conneaut Area Historical Society is serving as the board’s non-profit go-between on the contribution project, Naylor said. Individuals, businesses and group that contribute will have their name printed on a “Thank You to Conneaut” message on the back of the sign, she said.

Board members have been invited to make an application to The Conneaut Foundation, and other funding possibilities exist, Naylor said. “We have some nibbles,” she said.

The goal is to have enough money in hand to install all three signs this year, Naylor said. The second signs will be placed on Route 20 at the Pennsylvania line. The third will be installed on Route 7 if the state — which controls the corridor — allows access. If not, it will be placed on Lake Road at the Conneaut-North Kingsville border, she said.

“It’s very exciting,” Naylor said. “We want the first sign where the citizens can see it. We want them to see where their money went.”

The group is also working with the Ohio Logos program to put a big sign on Interstate 90 near Route 7, but that project is on hold until a $45 million freeway repair program is completed this fall.

The signs will be made from low-maintenance aluminum, Naylor said. “We’re looking at a very long lifetime,” she said.

For more information about the sign project, or to make a contribution, contact Naylor at 599-7697 or cnaylor@suite224.net.