New Signs are on the Way

New Signs are on the Way

(Crystal A. Proxmire)

Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Communications Director Chris Hughes made a visit to a sign manufacturing company last week to check out the newest additions to the Ferndale cityscape.  Thanks to a Wayfinding grant, Downtown Ferndale will have a new look.

The Way finding project includes designs for many levels of signage throughout the city, but mainly in the Downtown area, including a grand sign in the Woodward Ave. median on 9 Mile, totem-style signs to mark major intersections, 100 new historical markers, and signs to direct people to parking, city buildings and other important features.

The first round of signs in currently in production.  Expected are the following:

5 KIOSK Locations

2 Directional Kiosks – East Nine at the Pedestrian Alley

West Nine at the North Side Pedestrian Alley

Map/Business Listings/Historical ElementJust 4 Us

3 Historical Kiosks

The Ferndale State Bank – the Second Bank Opened  in Ferndale  (basically in front of Club 9)

The Five & Dime – Neisner Brothers, Woolworth’s, SS Kresge

The Evangelical Association – The Tabernacle aka Jeffries Baptist Church (Corner of East Nine & Bermuda)

The remaining 25 signs are all located within the downtown, mostly on Nine Mile Road, according to Hughes.

The quest for new signage began several years ago as the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) became a Preserve America Community in order to qualify for various development grants.  A parking study done in 2006 concluded that better signage was needed to direct traffic to available parking.  And for several years the DDA has been working on branding the downtown by making sure that the communications and designs used throughout the area have a consistent look and feel.


Last winter, the DDA won the $120,000 grant, which is going to be matched with $80,000 in DDA funds, volunteer time valued at $20,000 and a $20,000 contribution from the City of Ferndale.

The new look for navigational signs around Ferndale was decided on by a group of about 30 residents at a Wayfinding community input meeting on December 17th, 2010  Sketches of four different designs were hung on the walls for public voting, and the clear winner was a concept called “Radio City,” which features the retro lines and curves reminiscent of old-style movie theatres.  The art-deco design was likened to The Berkley Theater or the old Radio City Theater that was one block north of 9 Mile on Woodward in the 1950s.

The signs will incorporate the Downtown Ferndale logo which is a D and an F in circles, or the shortened dtwn Ferndale with an arrow after the D.  They will also tie in the funky Downtown Ferndale colors of green, blue and purple.  “This will make Downtown Ferndale more recognizable to everyone across generations,” says DDA Director Cristina Sheppard-Decius.  She said that the program will also include an online tour of Ferndale that people can view online, or print out and do in person.  There is also a 3-D map of the 9 Mile and Woodward area.

For more information about the DDA and the Wayfinding Project, go to www.downtownferndale.com.

The chosen design could easily be used in other areas of the city.

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