Village trustees seeking fresh look for retail signs
The monument sign in front of Fresh Market, under construction at the intersection of Milwaukee Avenue and Illinois Route 22, may look like this; if so, this would be a first-of-its-kind design in the northwest suburbs. Lincolnshire's Village Board members spoke highly of this look, one of four presented recently by Village Hall's staff, saying it was a nice break from what has become the suburbs' standard marker design. (Image courtesy of Lincolnshire Village Hall)
Updated: April 22, 2013 2:45AM
At some point, ‘standard’ inevitably turns into ‘tired and old.’ The monument signs in front of Lincolnshire’s numerous shopping centers may have reached that point.
The Village Board recently spent more than half an hour discussing what the marker in front of the under-construction Fresh Market grocery store and the outlying shops that will likely spring up around it should look like. Village Hall’s staff showed the trustees four options, highlighted by one that was different from anything seen around the suburbs currently, and one that closely followed the norms of what most local centers’ signs look like.
The trustees made it clear: Lincolnshire needs something new.
“We’re very good at being staid, to the point of being boring,” board member David Saltiel said.
There was no discussion of asking any property owners to change or remove existing signs — the trustees focused solely on bringing in something new at the intersection of Illinois Route 22 and Milwaukee Avenue.
On the northeast corner, North Carolina-based Fresh Market is in the middle of building Lincolnshire’s first grocery store; it is expected to be the anchor for a 5,000-square-foot building along Route 22, which could hold one to three businesses, and a third structure that could be up to 20,000 square feet to the north. If built as envisioned, this center will need a large marker announcing what is operating there — and the standard for such signs is a pair of stone columns with wood panels in the center, bearing the stores’ names.
Something to that effect was Option #1 from Steve McNellis, Lincolnshire’s community development director.
“It’s becoming so overused,” trustee Liz Brandt said of that option.
“Boring,” followed trustee Mara Grujanac.
Then McNellis showed the board Option #2 (see illustration), a single brick column with individual signs hanging off it like flags in a strong breeze. Though the trustees did not vote, they praised McNellis’s “unique” design, as Brandt described it.
“We were excited to hear the board embrace one of the designs, and embrace it without too many changes being requested,” McNellis said Monday. “We’re learning what it is they’re looking for.”
Fresh Market is scheduled to open in July, but McNellis said there is no timetable for the monument’s construction; Fresh Market officials declined to comment about the possible design. Whatever form it takes, it is expected to be built on village property; McNellis said Lincolnshire could use TIF money to pay for it, but may be able to get support from incoming tenants.
He noted that while the sign’s look is not paramount, it does make a large statement about Lincolnshire. He said he was excited about possibly starting a new trend for other suburbs to follow.
“You can drive up and down Milwaukee Avenue and see this standard,” he said.