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Proposed Glen Ellyn signage plan focuses on promoting local history, economy

Published: Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013 6:30 p.m. CDT

GLEN ELLYN – Celebrating Glen Ellyn's history while promoting its present will be a key part of new signage plans for the village.

After the completion of a wayfinding study that found residents strongly favored a more traditional style of sign, consultant Zac McConnell of The Lakota Group took the firm's ideas to the village's Architectural Review Commission, whose members also said they'd like to see signs that incorporate Glen Ellyn's history.

The wayfinding study began earlier this year as a recommendation of Glen Ellyn's 2009 Downtown Strategic Plan. The Architectural Review Commission was charged with providing feedback on the proposed designs at its Sept. 11 meeting so that changes could be made before they are ultimately brought to the Glen Ellyn Village Board for approval.

While the signs will reflect Glen Ellyn's history, the hope is they will benefit the local economy by helping to direct residents and visitors to shopping and other aspects of the community.

"We're really hoping that this will have an economic development benefit by better directing people to those wonderful community assets," Village Planner Michele Stegall said.

Some commissioners worried the proposed designs strayed too far into a Victorian style, with attached scrollwork on top of signs.

They said they'd like to see those features replaced with knob-like finials, which would make the signs similar to current ones in the village designed by the Historic Preservation Commission and more consistent with a New England style favored by both commissions.

Proposed signage ranges from gateway signs that announce entrance into the village to wayfinding signs that direct community members to parking and specific buildings such as the Glen Ellyn Public Library and Civic Center.

As a way to help Glen Ellyn residents and visitors find their way around town, proposed signage designs include color coding that will match certain areas of interest to specific colors. That way, people looking for parking will know that every time they see the color maroon on a sign, for example, it is directing them to a parking lot.

Although some commissioners expressed concerns about the use of too much color, they ultimately supported the wayfinding colors because of their potential helpfulness to community members.

McConnell also discussed the presence of a logo on signs in the village. While the possibility of using the initials "GE" was discussed, commissioners overwhelmingly supported using the Civic Center clock tower, which is often seen as a logo around town.

"To me, who cares that our initials are 'GE?' That says nothing at all about our community," Commissioner Sharon Wussow said. "The clock tower says something; the horse trough would say something. Talk about an iconic symbol of our village."

Feedback from commissioners will be used as the consultants refine their designs before they are brought to the village board for a vote. A second phase of the wayfinding project includes determining sign locations, at which time additional public input will be sought.

Consultants also will explore the possibility of using similar designs for Glen Ellyn Park District signage.

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