County officials want to make sure that travelers along the County’s major thoroughfares know when they have arrived in Clarke. On Tuesday the Board of Supervisors discussed the possibility of erecting “Welcome to Clarke County” signs and asked the public to join in the discussion of what the signs will say.
“Some counties have welcome signs that define ‘who they are’,” said Supervisor John Staelin (Millwood). “We may want to do something that’s a little more tourist oriented. For instance, our sign might include our county website address to allow people with handheld devices to find out more about Clarke County.”
Staelin pointed out that county welcome signs often address one of two goals; the sign either provides a slogan or image that identifies the unique characteristics of the local area or the sign can sometimes serve as an invitation to travelers to visit the locality.
“Fauquier County’s welcome sign says ‘Preserving Agriculture in a Business-Friendly Community’,” Staelin said. “We need to decide whether our sign should be more ‘identity’ oriented or something to reach people who may want to spend money here – which is my personal preference.”
In discussing the tourism-versus-identity issue several potential slogans for a Clarke County welcome sign were discussed including “Clarke County – Virginia’s Best Kept Secret” and “Clarke County – Discover Beauty, Adventure, History and Fun”.
If approved, the Welcome to Clarke County signs will be placed at the County’s major entry points on Route 7, Route 50 and Route 340.
Clarke County Zoning Administrator Jesse Russell, who has been involved in the sign design discussion, said that while sign message is important, making sure that people know that they have entered a new jurisdiction is equally important.
“People coming from Loudoun County or Frederick County often don’t realize that they are even in Clarke County,” Russell said. “Having a nice motto and logo are important but what’s most important is letting people know that they have entered into a new county and making sure that our website address is available in case they want to find out more about us.”
Clarke County Supervisor Chairman Michael Hobert (Berryville) concurred that good signage requires more than just a catchy slogan.
“In order to be effective a sign needs to have a good design,” Hobert said. “The words are very important but that isn’t enough. We need to have a designer involved once you have determined the words that you plan to use.”
Supervisor Staelin said that coming up with the best theme for the welcome signage, as well as a County motto, should be a community effort and invited County residents to get involved in the process.
“We invite the public to submit their suggestions,” Staelin said. “We’d love to have people’s thoughts and ideas.”
How do you feel about “Welcome to Clarke County” signage?