Where is Le Mars anyway? More signs answer that question

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The six ramps from Highway 75 into Le Mars are going to have signs bearing the city's name.

The city has been working with the Iowa Department of Transportation to make the signs at the three interchanges more clearly state that they are an entrance to Le Mars.

The DOT is planning to add "Le Mars" to the signs after final approval goes through, and they plan to foot the $1,000 bill, according to City Administrator Scott Langel.

The large, overhead signs on the bypass itself may get an update too. Currently at the three Le Mars interchanges, they give the street name in Le Mars, like "Plymouth Street."

"The idea is that where it says the street name, we would cover it up with the word 'Le Mars,'" Langel said.

If they make updates at the three interchanges, the DOT would ask the city to pay $5,000. The city can also choose to update signs at one or two of the interchanges, and the DOT would prorate the cost.

"We're going to see how the council wants to proceed with that," Langel said.

He plans to suggest changing some from the street name to 'Le Mars,' but keeping others with the street name.

"It is my recommendation not to cover the 'Business 75' street name at the south interchange," he said. "But for Plymouth Street at the middle interchange and 5th Avenue NW at the north, I don't have a strong feeling. Most the traveling public would probably not know what 'Plymouth Street' means."

The sign indicating the 24th Street entrance to southern Le Mars should also stay, he said.

"24th Street is touted as the main entrance to the industrial park, and with the number of trucks that enter and leave Le Mars because of the industrial park, I fear that taking that off might be a mistake," he said.

Other signs:

Possible "official" city/county signs - Langel described this as the equivalent of a billboard, allowing the city and county to promote themselves as a destination. The DOT allows one or several of these billboards with a few regulations. Specific businesses cannot be advertised, but statements like "25 restaurants" or "five hotels" are fine.

Attractions sign - This is the DOT's blue highway sign, and rather than the traditional logo blocks displayed advertising certain attractions, the DOT will allow Le Mars to use the phrase "Ice Cream Capital of the World" provided someone will pay for that space. If so, there will still be room for one more attraction to advertise. The DOT requires an attraction to be open five days a week and have an annual attendance of 10,000 or more, Langel said.

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