Archive for Wednesday, July 18, 2001

Business owner hopes signs could point downtown

July 18, 2001

Tonganoxie's downtown businesses are pulling in more out-of-town customers than ever.

But the problem is, says a downtown business owner, that out-of-towners have difficulty finding downtown.

Vicki Bichelmeyer, an owner of Bichelmeyer's Steakhouse, 427 E. Fourth St., in downtown Tonganoxie, would like the city to install signs on U.S. Highway 24-40 that would point the way to Fourth Street.

Bichelmeyer's draws in a substantial number of diners from other towns, such as Leavenworth, Olathe and Lawrence, Bichelmeyer said.

"I've spoken with several guests at our restaurant who are new to the area and they've told me they ended up in Lawrence trying to find our restaurant," Bichelmeyer said. "They go right around the curve and keep on going."

Chris Clark, city administrator, said he has recently heard comments from local residents saying the city of Tonganoxie needs signs directing motorists to downtown. Any signs along U.S. 24-40, he said would be on state right of way.

"I think that the city could make a request that we would install the signs at our own expense," Clark said. "The state has looked favorably on that in the past."

Clark said most likely any signs would be small. He said he doubted businesses would be able to add signs indicating the names of their businesses.

The signs, which would be most likely installed near the intersection of 24-40 and Kansas Highway 16, as well as at the intersection of 24-40 and Main Street, would probably cost from $300 to $400 per sign.

Butch Rodgers, public works director, said the state most likely would postpone the installation of a sign at the intersection of 24-40 and K-16, because of construction work slated for that intersection in April 2002.

But he said it might be possible to put up a sign at 24-40 and Main Street before that.

Bichelmeyer said any signs would help.

"It would be nice for the downtown business owners, since all the renovation and things we've done, to start drawing more people in to the area," she said. "We've got a lot to offer people. It would be nice if they knew we were there."

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