City official calls for sign upgrade

By Angela Peacock

City Commissioner Betty Ditto wants people visiting Tucumcari to feel welcomed, and what better way to do it, she said, than with signs.

Ditto raised the issue of repairing or erecting new welcome signs on roads around Tucumcari to city officials at a city commission meeting Thursday.

Recently, Ditto traveled through Missouri, Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma on her way to Chicago, Ill. On her trip she said almost every small town she passed through had a sign greeting drivers or advertising that economic development was welcomed in their community.

“On my trip there were dozens of cities with different advertising slogans such as ‘we build to suit’ indicating they welcome economic development,” Ditto said. “Tucumcari had nothing to indicate that.”

Aside from promoting the city, Ditto said she wants attention grabbing signs, that could bring drivers off the highways and into Tucumcari. She is also calling for signs with adequate lighting.

“We should be proud enough of our city to have lit-up signs, ones like there used to be, that welcomes people into our community,” Ditto said.

The Tucumcari/Quay County Lodgers Tax Advisory Board is responsible for making recommendations to the Tucumcari City Commission regarding signage concerns.
City Manager Richard Primrose said Tucumcari’s budget for the 2003 fiscal year has already been complete and hasn’t appropriated extra funds toward correcting the signage issue. He added that the city will begin organizing its budget and considering recommendations from organization such as the Lodgers Tax Board in February and March of 2004.

“They should certainly appropriate more money from the Lodgers Tax Fund for this purpose,” Ditto said.

Doug Ewing, president of Tucumcari/Quay County Lodgers Tax Advisory Board, said there’s no such thing as too much city promotion, but that it basically comes down to is how much signage a community can afford.

“We’re currently in the process of reviewing billboard and sign company contracts to see how much, if any, funds will be available,” Ewing said. “Hopefully we’ll have made a decision by Dec. 9 meeting.”

City Commissioner Mary Mayfield, also believes effective signage is important for the city.

“If we want to continue to prosper, signage in Tucumcari is a must,” Mayfield said.

When asked if the city plans to address this issue Mayor Calvin Litchfield said he had no comment.