published Saturday, February 9th, 2013

New look for Chattanooga's downtown banners


by Cliff Hightower
New banners have been installed throughout the Downtown and North Chattanooga area.
New banners have been installed throughout the Downtown and North Chattanooga area.
Photo by Dan Henry.
Poll
Have you seen the new downtown banners?

The heads are coming down.

The public reacted angrily last year when Chattanooga put up banners along Market and Broad streets with images of people whose features were obscured by the words "Chattanooga Happens Downtown."

"We received a lot of negative feedback" about the $77,000 promotion, said Tiffanie Carpenter, director of creative management for the River City Co.

Most of the funding for that promotion by River City, $66,000, came from the city.

Kim White, executive director of River City Co., said the new banners going up will be much nicer, and a bonus is the inclusion of wayfinding signs for visitors to Chattanooga streets.

"They really do brighten up downtown," she said.

River City Co. partnered with several community businesses and the city to come up with $120,000 for the new downtown project. The city contributed $45,000, and partners donated the rest, White said.

The city money is earmarked exclusively for the wayfinding signs, she said.

The project also includes new map kiosks with more brightly colored maps. Two new kiosks also will be installed at Miller Plaza and the Tennessee Aquarium, Carpenter said.

Carpenter said the banners should have an extended life.

"We plan for them to be up the next two to three years," she said.

White said the wayfinding signs should be up for at least 20 years.

"They have a long warranty and a long shelf life," she said.

Wayfinding signs already are in place in the North Shore, the city center and the Bluff View Arts District.

Council Chairwoman Pam Ladd criticized the old banners last year as "ugly" and "horrible."

She said this week that the replacement banners were long overdue -- and she thinks others feel the same way.

"I don't think I'm the only one," she said.

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