Locals can’t see the sign
SILT – Where is the Silt Trade Center? Does anybody know where downtown Silt is? Those are questions some business owners are betting potential customers are asking because of an apparent lack of directional signs around town. “Nobody knows I’m out here,” said Sweetpeas nursery owner Nancy Vance. “When you first come into Silt, there are no directional signs to get you to the Silt Trade Center.”Just in case you didn’t know, the Silt Trade Center is a retail and industrial complex surrounding the Silt Post Office on the east side of town. Its entrance is marked with a giant rock embossed with the name of the center. Carol Back, owner of the Whimsical Wagon on the west side of town, echoed Vance. “When people come off I-70, there’s no direction letting them know there’s anything else in Silt other than convenience (stores),” she said. Some business owners pointed to signs in Parachute directing motorists to town hall and downtown as examples for signs Silt should erect. Back said the lack of directional signage in town and the town’s restrictive sign code prevent people from seeing some businesses like hers which rely on passersby, and it’s hurting her bottom line. Silt Chamber of Commerce board member Kathie Currie called the fervor over the town’s lack of signs “a huge amount of controversy.”She called for better signs along Highway 6, saying that the chamber has discussed the issue. According to the town sign code, signs identifying businesses cannot exceed an area of 16 square feet and are limited to one per business. Some local convenience stores – including Kum and Go, whose tall sign can be seen from Interstate 70 – received a variance for their signs. Without a variance, price signs for gasoline pumps cannot exceed a total of 24 square feet for all sign faces. Town manager Rick Aluise said Silt’s sign code is similar to those of other towns in the valley, and signs along state-maintained highways are out of the town’s control because such signs are regulated by the Colorado Department of Transportation.CDOT has a program called Tourism Oriented Directional Signs that allows businesses whose clientele are mostly tourists to pay for a blue sign on the interstate and near the freeway exit directing tourists to their front doors. Nurseries, hair salons or other businesses geared toward locals are not eligible for those signs. For those concerned about Silt’s sign code, Aluise said a new provision not yet published in the code allows anyone who wants to receive an exception to the code to apply for one, and it will likely be granted. He cited the Kum and Go sign variance as an example of how the town is willing to be flexible with business owners. Still, no business owner has approached the Silt Board of Trustees with concerns about signage in town, said Mayor Pro Tem Tod Tibbets. “There is very little signage,” he said. “You kind of drive through there all the time and you forget what’s there…. I’m not sure what the town can do.”But, he said, “If brought forward to the town board, if there are conflicts with the current sign ordinance, the town board would work with the people that bring the idea forward. …The town government doesn’t have an obligation to advertise businesses.”Not all businesses are being hurt by the town’s requirement for small signs. Christian Harra, owner of the popular Miner’s Claim restaurant, said his business with a very small sign has never had trouble attracting customers. But, he said, the town might be improved if signs were installed to direct people coming off the interstate to local businesses. Contact Bobby Magill: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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