Memorandum from City Manager Greg Burris
After Councilman Denny Whayne asked that the Council reconsider the Wayfinding Project they approved at their last Council meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Gary Deaver requested a white paper be prepared outlining the history of the wayfinding signs project. City Manager Greg Burris prefaced the white paper with a note to the City Council, following is Mr. Burris' memorandum to the Council:
February 20, 2009
To: City Council
From: Greg Burris, City Manager
Re: Wayfinding Project
In response to Council’s request for a “white paper” on the Wayfinding Project, the attached document is provided. I believe staff has done a good job developing a document that provides background information on the project, discusses the purpose of wayfinding, and outlines the process used to get us to this point. I offer a few key points below.
• The Wayfinding Project dates back to 1998. The history of the project is outlined in the attached document.
• We have a limited window of opportunity to place the freeway signs (as noted in the Introduction of the attached document) because some of the existing signs are scheduled for replacement soon. Thus, while the project can be delayed, it should not be delayed too long.
• The Wayfinding Project is good for the entire city – we want to be known as a “visitor friendly” city. The objectives of a wayfinding and cross-marketing system are included in the attached report.
• Since the inception of the Capital Improvement Program (CIP), Springfield has never failed to deliver any project approved by voters. We believe our accountability and credibility on delivering promised projects is the foundation of its successful record of renewal. We certainly recognize and acknowledge that the timing of this particular step in the wayfinding program is unfortunate. But bad timing, in and of itself, does not mean the principles and goals of the program are flawed. I urge you to separate the vote on this contract from the program itself. Even if the project must be delayed, I believe the project remains worthy of implementation and encourage Council to keep it on the project list.
• As you know, delaying or canceling this project does not present an opportunity to fund the police/fire pension system. The ¼-cent funds must legally remain in their “silo” and must be applied toward the voter-approved elements of the Capital Improvement Program.
• While it would be difficult or impossible to accurately quantify the specific return on investment, the Wayfinding Project is designed to enhance economic development within Springfield, specifically targeting dollars originating outside our community. We must keep in mind that a considerable amount of Springfield’s economy is driven by convention visitors and tourism.
• While much focus has been given to the few primary destinations of theWayfinding Project, please keep in mind that more businesses along anywayfinding route will benefit. For example, if we are routing traffic from I- 44 south on Glenstone, motorists will be exposed to all businesses along the route.
• We must keep in mind our long-range goal for Springfield is to be a well-planned, visitor-friendly city. The attached white paper will discuss why wayfinding is an important component of that goal.
I also would like to address a few of the questions that arose regarding the project bidding.
• The fabrication of the proposed wayfinding signs was advertised locally, as well as nationally. No vendor was excluded from bidding.
• No local company elected to bid during the first round when the fabrication and installation were combined into a single bid package. These bids came in higher than anticipated, and the City modified the project scope and design to re-bid.
• The City elected to split the fabrication and installation of the signs into two separate bid packages to allow local vendors to bid on the installation without having to also be responsible for fabricating the signs.
• No local company elected to bid on the fabrication of the wayfinding signs during the second round of bidding.
I realize we are in extraordinary economic times – times that could not have been anticipated when the 2007 sales tax renewal was approved by 78%. I take full responsibility for bringing this step in the wayfinding project forward at this time. Our timing was poor and I apologize. I felt we were appropriately bringing forward a longstanding initiative with identified funding that represents an investment in economic development to promote our community during a time when we need every available advantage. If the timing is too poor, however, to proceed now, you have alternate options to consider at Monday’s Council meeting.
Please contact me if you require additional information on this topic. Thank you.
According to Public Information Director Louise Whall, the White Paper will be posted at the City's Web site late this afternoon. I will post a link as soon as I can get back to it and it is available. I would have copied it here but, the total document, including the White Paper, is 18 pages long.
UPDATE: Here's the link: White paper about the Wayfinding Program
Have a good weekend, everyone!