German Village Gazette

Society launching a long-term sign effort


The German Village Society will spend an initial $50,000 on a comprehensive sign program for the historic district.

The Society has hired BHDP Architecture -- one of six firms that applied -- to develop directional, wayfinding, border-marking and storytelling signs that fit the neighborhood's historic nature and help residents and visitors alike discover the hidden stories and attractions in the neighborhood, said Shiloh Todorov, executive director of the German Village Society.

"I think for at least 55 years people have been told to step through German Village or have been attracted to it as a resident and business owner," she said.

"But what's not exactly evident is how to appreciate it."

Todorov said the purpose of the signs is for the people who spend most of their time in the village.

"The signage program is a multi-level, multi-audience project, but the priority audience is those who live and work in German Village," she said.

"We hope to create dozens of 'aha' moments for people to discover as they explore the neighborhood, perhaps taking a new or unexpected turn with the stroller or on a dog walk.

"National preservation experts say they worry that without signs, no one in a historic district will focus on preservation issues," Todorov said.

"Additionally, preservation researchers contend that signage and markers add value to homes in a historic district."

The society is paying for the work from money raised by Tea43206: Two Hundred for Tea, the annual gala held three years in a row at the German Village Guest House owned by Society Trustee Darci Congrove.

The first step of the 10-year process is to determine how many signs there will be and where they'll be placed.

That information should be ready by fall, Todorov said.

Then officials will develop the stories and pick out material of the signs.

The last step is the wording and installation of the signs, she said.

The initial cash outlay does not include production, fabrication or installation of the signs, Todorov said.

So, that means, the Society will have to seek grants, sponsorships or possibly use money from future Tea43206 gatherings.