sipe center highway signs

Bridgewater officials will seek funding from Rockingham County for four informational highway signs along Interstate 81. 

BRIDGEWATER  Those traveling on Interstate 81 may soon see signs notifying them of tourist destinations in Bridgewater if town officials get their way with Rockingham County.

Earlier this year, Rockingham County offered its seven incorporated towns up to $50,000 in grant funding using revenue from the county's transient occupancy tax. In 2019, Rockingham County increased its transient occupancy tax to 5 cents. By law, 3 of the 5 cents collected must be spent on tourism activities.

Bridgewater is the last town to apply for the program. On July 27, the Board of Supervisors approved funding for projects in the six other towns in the county, which include enhanced signage and improvements at town parks. 

At a Bridgewater Town Council meeting Tuesday, Town Manager Jay Litten expressed interest in using the funding for four brown informational signs on Interstate 81. Litten said there are similar signs along Interstate 81 in Staunton for the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library.

"As I see it, these signs serve two purposes," Litten said in a staff report to Town Council. "Obviously, they guide people to attractions, but they also serve to create an awareness of those attractions."

In his proposal, Litten shared a draft image promoting the Sipe Center. He said one of the marketing goals of the Sipe Center is to create awareness of the facility for those out of town, and a brown highway sign would create "a sense among those driving past that there is something in Bridgewater worth checking out."

Litten said staff believes the signage could be procured for less than $50,000.

Town Council authorized Litten to apply for the funding.

"I'm pleased that when somebody offers $50,000, we're finding a way to use it," said Mayor Ted Flory. 

Contact Kellen Stepler at 574-6279 or | Follow Kellen on Twitter at @KellenStepler

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