Walla Walla region's wayfinding sign plan gains steam

The Donald & Virginia Sherwood Trust has chipped in $44,000 for design of the new system.

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If a grant allocation is a sign of things to come then Walla Walla's new regional wayfinding system will soon be in the design stage.

The Donald & Virginia Sherwood Trust has awarded $44,000 for the design of a new sign system to help guide people throughout the Valley.

The community development grant from the trust brings the total raised for the design phase to $77,500. Another $27,500 is needed to proceed with design work, said Tourism Walla Walla Chief Executive Officer Michael Davidson.

The new signs would include pedestrian kiosks, smartphone applications and traditional roadside signs designed to better guide visitors and locals throughout the area. The result is expected to foster return visits and, consequently, economic growth, according to the announcement.

Design work is the follow-up phase to an analysis of the current sign system.

Pennsylvania firm Merje conducted the analysis and would also be responsible for the design work, Davidson said.

The Regional Wayfinding System project is led by Partnership Walla Walla and Tourism Walla Walla. The former partnered with the Downtown Walla Walla Foundation to apply for the grant.

The remaining funds for the second phase of the project have come from Tourism Walla Walla, the city of Walla Walla, Port of Walla Walla, Waitsburg Commercial Club, Walla Walla County, Columbia REA, Dayton/Columbia County Fund and the downtown foundation.

Davidson said other grant opportunities are being pursued for the remaining funds. He also expects some private sector support for the project. The goal is to begin the design work in September. That portion is expected to take about six months.

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