Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs



By Daddy Warbucks

Remember Tesla? Remember that song?

Well if you don’t, you may not relate to the irony of NWA cities about to dump more than a three-quarters-of-a-million dollars on signs.
Remember Tesla’s (and previously Five Man Electrical Band’s) old hit? The chorus, as you catch on, will churn through your brain: “Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs/Blocking up the scenery, breaking my mind/Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?”
Get ready because signs are coming to Bentonville, $400,000 worth of them — and another $250,000 worth are headed for Fayetteville.
These signs are supposed to help guide tourists and out-of-towners to the hidden gems of the city’s history.
Now Bentonville, all excited about the opening of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in 2010 or 2011 or 2012, whenever Alice — as in Alice Walton, yes, Sam’s daughter — decides to open it is another matter. All around Crystal Bridges are simple side streets, no major thoroughfares. So some signs might be needed. What do you think?
More signs?

Gamblin’ Man
Looks like more bad news for bad boy developer Brandon Barber. At least two Las Vegas casinos say they have gambling debt markers totaling more than $100,000. Wow. He rolled the dice on Dickson Street. Snake eyes there as well.

Hog Tickets
It has been declared: No price increase for 2009 Razorback football tickets. That is, unless one counts the $85 a seat, upper deck seats at Jerry Jones’ new Texas Stadium for the Texas A&M game. But what the heck? The UA’s football fortunes in the win column are said to be on the rise. If so, watch for ticket prices to edge up for 2010. Remember, you read it here first.

Patio Coming
Yup, Fayetteville and its visitors love dining on the patios. The Patio @ Bordinos will be open in early May. Co-owner and Chef Chrissy Sanderson says customers asked for it and Bordinos will deliver. The Patio @ Bordinos will be open during regular business hours. Seating will be less formal, a more relaxed atmosphere with about 40 seats.

Super Signs
Bentonville officials are about to spend up to half a million dollars on signs and a wayfinding system that will direct tourism dollars to the city. Whoa! That is big bucks for a city with confusing directional and narrow streets. Some in Bentonville hint that other NWA cities will follow their lead. Well maybe, but hopefully no half-million dollar campaign to help folks find Dickson Street.

Fayetteville Sniffs
And, yes, it looks like those Fayetteville A&P officials, who are ALWAYS flush with funds, are going to take a sniff at this “wayfinding” process. Wayfinding is key to increasing overnight stays with tourists and providing return guests to the city, which will in turn increase tourism revenue, officials say. So they want to follow Bentonville’s lead and develop a similar sign program to direct visitors to attractions such as the Walton Arts Center and the city’s parks.

Sam’s Club Wins
Uh-oh, we told you so. Sam’s Club in Fayetteville can operate a liquor store that shares a common wall with its retail operation, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled last week, which potentially will prompt other chain stores to follow suit, so it’s said. So maybe, just maybe, the lock on Springdale liquor stores could be broken. Oh, no. Stay tuned.

Ticket Sellers
The Northwest Arkansas Naturals and a team of ticket sellers have been visiting area business and large employers recently shilling tickets. They often show up with hawking merchandise (hats, T-shirts and balls) and ticket offers. They are really pushing the tickets for the season, which opened last week.

Field & Stream
Ryan Butler of Johnson who fishes on the weekends after his job at Cox Communications was featured in a spread in Field & Stream magazine this month. The four-page spread talks mostly about boating safety. The photos were taken on a lake near where Butler grew up in Blue Eye, Mo.

Another Mention
Fayetteville recently was listed in a magazine many of us don’t read, Endless Vacation, a high-dollar guide for those rich enough to be on an endless vacation. The magazine gave props to Fayetteville. Best among the mentions was Mike Shirkey’s GoodFolk concerts.

Where Are We?
Kathy Deck, NWA economic forecaster, says unemployment in NWA is at about 2006 levels. NWA has worked through a great deal of its issues, in terms of real estate, Deck says, but there is still a great deal of commercial space on the market. That’s pretty obvious and it was that way long before the big “R” word started to be mentioned. In the near future, there will be opportunity for new construction in NWA, but not at the high pace it was, Deck said. Oh, well.

Categories: Features