McKinney cultural signage

The McKinney City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution granting a meritorious exception to the city’s signage ordinances for the installation of three signs in the downtown cultural district.

When Historic Downtown McKinney was designated a Cultural District last November by the Texas Commission on the Arts, one of the resulting grant opportunities was for wayfinding and signage to help brand the district and offer and unique attraction for the area.

Amy Rosenthal, MPAC and Main Street program director, said downtown officials looked at different signage types that would be right for McKinney’s history. After researching other districts like Red River in Austin and Deep Ellum in Dallas, as well as McKinney’s own landmarks like Bill Smith’s Café, a vintage Americana style emerged.

One of the goals for the signs was to showcase and help identify the Chestnut Commons parking garage, Rosenthal said.

Resident Jimmy Teeling, who served as an intern with McKinney Main Street over the summer, spoke during the public hearing at Tuesday’s meeting. He said he was able to get a “bird’s eye view” of the signage project during his internship. He noted the limited use of the parking garage since it opened in February.

“Our downtown parking garage remains relatively vacant any time you go downtown,” he said. “The first floor is generally filled, but the second you get to the second floor, it is completely empty. So these directional signs to get ourselves and our residents to the parking garage is going to be extremely important, especially if we want to actually relieve some of the parking on square proper and across from our businesses.”

The three signs have a completion date of Nov. 25 in time for the downtown Home for the Holidays event from Nov. 29-Dec. 1. Two of the three will be attached to the parking garage. One will be a rooftop style that faces Highway 5, and the other will be a blade sign that points visitors in the garage. The third sign will stand on a pole near Mitchell Park on Church Street.

Funding was previously approved from the Texas Commission on the Arts grant and a McKinney Community Development Corporation project grant.

After the vote, Councilman Scott Elliott weighed in on the chosen style for the new signage.

“Given the vintage nature of the signs, ‘cool’ comes to mind as a correct description,” he said.

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