Develop a public signage/communication system

You are here:
Catalyst Projects > Green Infrastructure > Develop a public signage/communication system

This opportunity connects with the community’s desire to create a dynamic, welcoming, unique brand for Marlborough, and to draw new residents and businesses to invest there.

There would be several purposes for installing some form of community signage: to help build a positive, forward-looking identity for Marlborough; to connect current residents to information about the community, especially successes as they are realized; to invite participation in community events and programs; and to attract new businesses, investors and active residents to the area.

The basic design would hold a 6’ x 12’ printed image (with the possibility for attaching longer-term materials via hook and grommet systems) that would feature posters about achievements and upcoming community events. Examples could be the winning images from the Marlborough’s Hidden Treasures photo contest, developments in areas such as healthy foods (possible farmer’s market, gardens on Land Bank lots, healthy corner stores), redevelopment of the Marlborough Village area or images about the repurposing of the Marlborough School. It would not be used for commercial advertising.

In the initial phase, the postings will likely be on paper, and be changed every 4-6 weeks. Sponsors will be lined up to program about a year’s worth of postings, in order to convey a dynamic sense of change. After this, longer lasting materials will be used, and the images will change every 3-4 months. This should also be a space for artists to engage with, to model the creative, innovative energy that Marlborough wishes to invest in and grow. Posters would cost around $50 – $65 for a 6’ x 12’ image. Brenda Thomas offered to fund the first one.

The surroundings for the image space would make the signage look quite different from a typical commercial billboard. It would show a permanent map of the community, calling out some of the great features in the area, so that it would always look attractive. There would be some lettering on top of the sign – such as the adopted identity “We Are Marlborough”. There was a preliminary design charrette at BNIM architects and then Curtis Calkins worked with some of these ideas and community input to come up with some designs for signage on this site, incorporating solar panels and possibly native plantings to enhance the sense that this is a valuable, attractive community resource.

A property at 75th Terrace and Troost has been identified as a possible site. It is highly visible and accessible, and is associated with the sustainable landscaping and curb/sidewalk improvements that are coming about through the Water Services green infrastructure project. This area on Troost also has a sense of dynamic change, because of the new transit hub at 75th . The owner of this lot has been hard to locate, and there is a possibility that an alternative site may be needed.

Educational signage is incorporated in Water Services green infrastructure project and represents an opportunity to further incorporate the branding throughout public infrastructure in the community.

Additional information to implement this opportunity below:


Implementation pathway:

1. Identify a site that includes permission from the owner, is visible and in an attractive location.

2. Refine the design for the signage, obtain engineering stamp (in-kind?)

3. Define a maintenance program and identify individuals who will maintain the sign and any landscaping.

3. Identify which permits would be required for the sign and venue and obtain them

4. Identify funders and in-kind donors

5. Build and install sign

6. Identify poster donors, make poster series (need graphic designer), install on predetermined schedule

Champions and their roles:

Marlborough resident Curtis Calkins is a recent graduate from the architecture program at KU, a certified class B contractor and an enthusiastic and “green thinking” proponent for sustainable development.

Curtis formed a group of volunteers to get his project started, including:

  • Leigh Rosser, public artist, designer, electronics.
  • Charles Brown, metal sculptor, welder, photographer
  • Don Wilkinson, artist, hydrologist with the USGS
  • Julia Cole, Arts and Social Services consultant, public artist

Other champions may include:

  • Terry Winbush and team from the Overflow Control Program (Target Green) at KC Water Services Department (in kind support with signage production, engineering)
  • Jill Erickson, Heartland Conservation Alliance, partner
  • Bo Williams, KCMO Planning and Development, possible assistance with permitting process
  • Porter Arneill at the Municipal Arts Commission (they oversee signage variances)

Partner organizations:

Burns and McDonnell engineering assistance, in kind, possible funds

KC Water Services Department, Overflow Control Program 

Heartland Conservation Alliance 

KCAI graphic design department: visual advocacy email:

City of Kansas City MO zoning regulations: 88-445 SIGNS 

Junior poster (5’ x 11’) printing example 

Funding sources or supportive programs:
NTDF (reimbursement), quarterly and annually 

ReBUILD KC – can be matched by volunteer time, in-kind or professional service donations Funding for civic projects 

Private sponsors for posters (community residents/businesses – thank in newsletter)


Neighborhoods in Creative Partnership, Charlotte N. Carolina 

Your Art Here, billboard art project

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s