The Downtown Improvement District will pursue installing three new "gateway" signs around the perimeter of downtown Sarasota.

Downtown could get signs identifying, well, downtown

Downtown leaders are pursuing a new plan to put up new signs around downtown that tell drivers they’re, well, downtown.

The aptly named Downtown Improvement District signed off on the idea to install three new “gateway signs” at major intersections on the perimeter of downtown last week.

The banner signs will span about 60 feet across from sidewalk to sidewalk and read “DOWNTOWN SARASOTA” with letters standing about 3.5 feet tall.

Last week the district recommended setting aside between $150,000 to $200,000 to install the signs at U.S. 41 and Main Street, U.S. 301 and Main Street, and Fruitville Road and Lemon Avenue.

The signs are supposed to be a kind of ~branding~ for the city center or for those who need a little extra reassurance that the cluster of 18-story buildings are, in fact, downtown.

DID board members like the idea and note that big, cities like Seattle have similar signs. They’ll run the idea by the City Commission before putting out a request for proposals, DID operations manager John Moran said.

There’s one catch, though.

The DID is likely to have to include extra cash in the plan to relocate two of the signs within the next couple years because new roundabouts are being considered for U.S. 41 and Main and Fruitville and Lemon.

DID leaders are cool with that because roundabouts take awhile to design and build, so they’d rather toss up the signs now and move them later than put the whole project in limbo.

“These roundabouts don’t come up every month or so, they take a long time to design and approve,” DID board member Mark Kauffman said last week. “Once they start, we’ll find the money to do it.”

“If these signs go up, say, next year, they’re going to be up for two years at least before they have to be relocated,” Moran added.

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