An historic piece of Canal Winchester has been restored to help direct visitors downtown.
A barn-shaped billboard once owned by the Meuser family to advertise the Winchester Farms Sausage Co. has been renovated and rented to Destination: Canal Winchester to announce attractions and events taking place in the city.
The billboard is located on the west side of U.S. Route 33 just south of Gender Road.
"This sign dates back to the 1960s or so and served as the main outdoor advertising for that business from the late 1930s to 1997," Destination: Canal Winchester Executive Director Bruce Jarvis said. "Shirley Meuser, our promotions committee chairperson, was instrumental in arranging a very generous rental agreement for the use of the billboard between us and current owner, Ken Heiberger."
The sign fell into disrepair in recent years, but despite its age, Jarvis said, it was still very structurally sound.
"Several design approaches were discussed and it was decided to take advantage of the unique barn-like shape by adding red barn siding and architectural elements, including trim, gable vents and a running-horse weathervane to complete the look," Jarvis said. "The barn door opening is designed for temporary signage that will change with the season to announce major events throughout the year."
Destination: Canal Winchester serves as the city's marketing organization for travel and tourism, with a focus on increasing revenue from visitors.
"During seasonal lulls, (when there aren't any scheduled events), signage that encourages patronage of the Gender Road and historic district business areas will be used so the billboard will literally be working 365 days a year," Jarvis said. "Daily traffic estimates on this section of U.S. Route 33 are well in excess of 30,000 cars, so this is tremendous exposure to a broad segment of our target audience traveling within 30 minutes of the city."
According to Jarvis, the organization starting discussing the billboard project in 2011, but wasn't able to budget funds for it. However, Richard and Jo Weiser approached the board and offered to cover all of the material costs, he said.
"(They) came to our aid with a very generous donation to get us through the remaining season and part of 2013," Jarvis said. "We also saved thousands by employing volunteer labor who, on short notice, completed the work in less than a week."