Two-year project includes signs, landscaping
by Alan Hodge
By this fall, Matthews residents will notice some big changes around town.
The board voted March 12 to purchase directional “way-finding” signs, ramp up landscaping, paint murals on several buildings and more. It’s all part of an estimated $400,000 project, to be completed over two years, with about $200,000 spent each year, town spokeswoman Annette Privette Keller said. The recession, though, could mean lower costs, she said. Funding will come from the town’s tourism fund, which is the town’s share of hotel and motel occupancy and prepared-food and beverage taxes.
Town commissioners approved the purchase of 25 large directional signs that will be placed at strategic areas along major roads in Matthews. Graphics on the signs will give directions to destinations such as downtown Matthews, according to town records.
Twelve smaller signs will be placed in the center of town, directing residents to destinations such as the town hall and library. Four double-sided public parking signs also will be installed downtown. These signs will be 36-feet in diameter.
The estimated cost for all the signs is $89,000. The plan is still subject to approval by the N.C. Department of Transportation.
Also approved March 12 were six “gateway gazebo” signs featuring the Matthews town logo and directions to local attractions. The signs will be located at Matthews-Mint Hill, Sam Newell and Pineville-Matthews roads and East John Street at an estimated cost of $112,000.
Each town park, the Community Garden off N.C. 51, and the fire and police departments also will get new signs at a cost of about $72,000.
Artwork will also play a part, with as many as four murals painted on downtown buildings. Themes suggested so far for the murals include a farmer’s market, railroad depot and a bicycle motif. Cost of the murals would be $2,000 each using the town’s general fund. Locations for the murals haven’t been set yet.
In addition to the signs and artwork, the board also gave the green light to take over landscape and maintenance duties from the N.C. DOT in seven median areas. These include the intersections of: Sam Newell Road and U.S. 74, N.C. 51 and Elizabeth Lane, U.S. 74 and Matthews Township Parkway, U.S. 74 and Matthews-Mint Hill Road, Interstate 485 and East John Street, N.C. 51 and Fullwood Avenue and N.C. 51 and Covenant Church Lane.
Plantings will include roses and variegated liriope or “Aztec grass,” at a cost of about $25,000. The cost for contracted grass mowing and similar maintenance will be subject to bid.