Neighborhood Gateways Proposed for Merion Village
Last night, the Merion Village Association hosted a special meeting to unveil the details of a new Gateway Signage and Streetscape Beautification Plan. Community input was sought for the plan, which was put together by the Neighborhood Design Center over the past year at the request of the Merion Village Association.
“This is an idea we’ve kicked around for a number of years,” said Bill Doughton, a Merion Village resident who sits on The Merion Village Gateways Workgroup.
“Bob Leighty and I had informally discussed from time to time the idea of public art, wayfinding signage and gateway community signage,” Doughton continued. “So I started knocking on some neighborhood doors and gauging the public temperature on this, and the response was pretty good.”
The Neighborhood Design Center was tapped last year to conduct some research on the neighborhood, including vehicular and pedestrian traffic studies. That data was then used to make recommendations on where the best types of signs, banners and gateways should be located.
“We identified three gateway intersections,” said Doughton. “Morill & Bruck, Whittier & Bruck, and Mohler & High. Those locations are still very arbitrary, and I imagine there will be some rumbling within the community… but we have to start somewhere.”
After NDC completed their study, neighborhood resident and designer Michelle Isroff completed several concept sketches (pictured throughout this article) of what these improved gateway intersections could look like.
“Michelle is brilliant and we’re really lucky to have her down here,” added Doughton. “Keep in mind that these renderings are just concepts though, and in some of these instances we’re at the mercy of private land owners. We need their permissions, and we still need to raise the money.”
Funding for the gateway projects will come from community fundraising, business community support and grant applications.
“This entire project is community driven,” continued Doughton. “Our community has initiated this and our community is doing the work. We’ve put together a good neighborhood committee and we’re raising the money ourselves. The business community has been very supportive and is ready to start raising funds.”
Last night’s meeting served to both present the renderings and studies to the Merion Village Association Board, and also to gather community input from neighbors and association members as to what the final product should look like.
“Similar to most urban neighborhoods, we’re a mix of the younger, youthful ideas and… the old guard,” said Doughton. “My hope is that these changes aren’t shot down prematurely because of some folks who think that anything new is bad. Still, this is all very exciting and I’m thrilled with the opportunities ahead of us.”