New wayside maps in Monticello guide for locals and visitors alike
by Stuart Smith
Monticello visitors and residents may all find some off-the-beaten-path adventures thanks to new wayside maps that have popped up in the community.
Like magic – to everyone except the workers from the city who installed them – the signs appeared in three spots around Monticello last week. The work was funded through a grant secured by the City of Monticello Parks and Beautification Committee.
Hannah Plemons, who has been an active member of the committee since 2015, said part of its mission is to find ways to beautify and improve the city and its parks.
“I’ve spent some time at Veterans Park with my kids and have always noticed the volume and variety of people who stop to use the park and its nice, wide-open spaces,” said Plemons.
“I’ve seen visitors taking a driving break, using the picnic area or exercising their pets. Veterans Park is a popular stop for visitors as well as community members.
“I’ve always thought to myself that if I was new to the area, I’d appreciate looking at a map or sign to see if there were other nice parks or places I could visit in the future.”
Plemons envisioned an artistic informational map just a few steps from the parking area, similar to what she had seen when traveling through national parks.
Cassiday Sonderegger, also a member of the Parks and Beautification Committee, researched the makers of such signs. That research led to Pannier Graphics in Pennsylvania, which offers a large variety of durable outdoor signs.
“I liked their styles and particularly the wayside design I was envisioning,” explained Plemons. “We chose the low-profile traditional design.
“A graphic artist named Dustin Pullman designed the map of Monticello using our framework for points of interest and artistic style,” she continued.
Pullman is an acquaintance of Carol Van Steeter, the chair of the Parks and Beautification Committee. The committee was familiar with his work before he was selected to design the Monticello map.
Pullman said he and his wife want to return to Monticello for at least a weekend to see how his handiwork is displayed.
He said the two spent the weekend in Monticello when they were dating and she showed him some of her favorite places. Those memories played into the design.
Funding for the project was secured from the San Juan County Economic Development and Visitor Services office.
“Last year Natalie Randall made us aware of the county’s Community Co-Op Grant,” Plemons explained. “The $5,000 grant allowed us to make three signs instead of one.
“We put the other signs at the Monticello Welcome Center and at the Lloyds Lake parking area because these are areas visitors would most likely need a wayfinding sign for Monticello.
“The grant money covered the cost of three wayside signs, artist fees, and installation.”
The San Juan County Economic Development and Visitor Services Co-Op Grant program is administered by the San Juan County Office of Economic Development and Visitor Services.
It is one of two grants offered by the office, both of which are funded by the Transient Room Tax (TRT) for tourism marketing efforts.
The Co-Op Grant allows flexibility for municipalities, communities, non-profits, and groups of businesses to apply for funding to assist in growing their tourism marketing efforts.
Grants can be applied for up to $5,000 per project, with no limit to the number of projects applied for by any one applicant.
Applications are reviewed, scored, and voted on by the nine-member Tourism Tax Advisory Board, which is representative of county-wide regions and TRT collecting entities.
The applications are ranked and a suggested award is presented to the San Juan County Commission, which then makes the final approval of the projects.
Plemons said Randall was a big help in securing the funding. Randall is director of the San Juan County Economic Development office.
“This was the first grant-funded project
for me,” said Plemons. “Natalie was encouraging and informative as we went through the process of completing our project for the grant. Her office kept us on track with all the grant deadlines.”
And the investment in the map paid dividends aesthetically.
Randall made use of the map for the new Monticello Community Guide Books, soon to be available to all businesses. Bluff and Blanding also have the Community Guide Books, but not with quite the artistic flair the Monticello Parks and Beautification Committee was able to provide.
The stylized tour around town reveals images of the Abajo Foothill Trail System, Lloyd’s Lake, the public library, Hideout Golf Course, the Monticello Temple, the county courthouse, and much more.
The next time you’re at Loyds Lake, the Monticello Visitors Center, or Veterans Park, check out the new signs. You might want to set a course for one of the points of interest that is just walking distance away.
For more information on the Co-Op grant and other resources, visit www.utahscanyoncountry.com/programs-incentives.