Brenham officials continued talks Thursday on a downtown signage program in the works.
During a comprehensive discussion on changes to the city’s sign ordinance, city officials were also given more information on a prospective pilot program for sidewalk signs, or “sandwich board signs”, in downtown Brenham.
With this program, businesses would have the opportunity to display their names and a directing arrow on centralized sidewalk signs at several downtown intersections. The two-sided signs would mostly be concentrated along Alamo and Commerce Streets.
Assistant Development Services Director Stephanie Doland said the city has worked closely with the Main Street Board on the program, which she said has received a lot of positive feedback. She said the city looked at other options aside from sidewalk signs, but chose them because they “cater to the charm and authenticity of downtown Brenham”.
Doland explained the program would run from June to January, through all the major downtown events including the Uptown Swirl. After that, she would meet with the appropriate businesses and get their input.
The city initially started with the idea of having three sidewalk sign locations, but expanded it to seven because of the number of interested business owners. The pilot program will not charge participating businesses, but if the program continues businesses will be able to buy-in to have their names shown on the signs. Businesses will still be able to have their own sandwich board sign—with their own design—in front of their business.
Doland said the signs will be a bit smaller in size, as the program is meant to cater to pedestrians, not traffic. They will be bolted to the ground, using a secured metal frame and weatherproof-type material. With the success of the program, the city will use something more sophisticated, but it is currently looking at cost effectiveness.
Brenham Planning and Zoning Commissioner Lynette Sheffield asked what would happen to the signs as downtown businesses change. Doland said the city is using a fixed sign to see how it functions during the pilot program, and would consider “a more elaborate prototype” for long-term use if the program is successful.
Commissioner Deanna Alfred asked how these signs would pair with things such as the scarecrows in the Scarecrow Festival and the eggs of the Spring Egg Art Walk.
Doland said that was part of the reason this was addressed in the sign ordinance, which is attempting to reduce the amount of items in the right-of-way. Main Street Manager Caz Muske added, if the pilot program is approved, the city will keep ADA compliance in consideration and will “make it as safe as possible” for everyone walking on the sidewalks.
City staff are recommending the program be adopted alongside the sweeping changes to the overall sign ordinance, which will be considered by Planning and Zoning Commissioners Tuesday.