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Sign tells passersby to check out Marion

Staff writer

The sign of the times is a new sign, at least in Marion.

In an effort to upgrade its highway marketing and community branding, the city council last week approved the installation of a large sign at US-56 and Eisenhower Drive. If weather permits, the sign will go up before winter. Otherwise, Jack Boese of Frontier Construction will perform the stone work in the spring.

Boese did the stone work on the Sports and Aquatics Center and the Performing Arts Center, and his bid was the lowest of three the city received.

“We know he does good work,” said city councilman Jerry Kline.

Boese will receive $3,500 and Marion manufacturing $2,500 to die cut the lettering and provide a durable powder coat finish, said city administrator Roger Holter. The steel sign with a stone background will have a frame made of bricks from one of the city’s street projects, Holter said.

In comparison to other Marion highway billboards, the new logo is simple, with a sun rising over blue waves, a row of travel icons and a quote that reads: “One of the nation’s best high schools — Newsweek.”

The idea for a welcome sign came from Marion Economic Development, Inc. more than 16 months ago. But when the organization’s funding stalled, the city took over the project, Holter said.

The city has installed billboards with multiple marketing messages over the years, including “A Town Between Two Lakes” and “Explore and Grow and Prosper in Marion,” said Holter, who believes the new logo is superior because the city will have “one consistent marketing message.”

Eric Meyer, publisher of Hoch Publishing Co., designed the logo and donated the intellectual property to the city, Holter said.

In an e-mail to city officials in September, Meyer said, “The row of travel icons provides quick-recognition utility, and the number and diversity of them strongly suggest to a passerby looking for any one of those services that Marion is a full-service community, worthy of becoming a destination for more than just his or her immediate need.”

Meyer said that the Newsweek quote about the high school “is intended to make a longer-term sales pitch that… is targeted more at potential relocation than it is at immediate tourism.”

Last modified Nov. 19, 2014

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