It’s a staple of any vacation slideshow, and now it’s a staple of social media — the picture of a family under a sign or next to a monument showing what state or city the family is visiting.
Members of the Vision Carthage committee wanted to create a place in Carthage where travelers can take that picture and, in the process, promote the city on their various social networks.
To that end, the Carthage City Council on Tuesday approved spending up to $11,500 to buy a large stone welcome sign that will include the Route 66 logo and a large maple leaf, created by Carthage artist Rachel Wilson.
Janet Stafford, chairwoman of the Vision Carthage committee, and Diane Sharits, a member of the committee who has been spearheading the project, spoke to the Council’s Budget Committee on Monday about the project.
Stafford said Southwest Missouri Bank has agreed to allow the stone to be placed on their property along Garrison Street between Third and Fourth streets.
Stafford said that location will be most visible to travelers on Route 66, one of the biggest attractions in Carthage.
Carthage Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Director Wendi Douglas said that accessibility is important to travelers.
“With social networking the way it is now,” she said, “we’ll have a spot where people can take pictures and instantly market our community to the world.”
Sharits said the committee is working with Wilson, who has perfected a technique of creating sculptures out of a plastic and fiberglass material.
Wilson will create the maple leaf and Pat Snyder, with West Chestnut Monuments, will carve the stone. The carving on the stone will say “Welcome to Carthage,” and include the Route 66 shield.
“One of the projects we were really targeting was coming up with a signage that would have a brand that we could all use and we would all know and everyone, when the come from out of town, would know what that brand means, that that sign means Carthage,” Stafford told the committee. “This sign includes the Maple Leaf with the Route 66 on it. That’s us; that’s the two important things that Carthage is known for.”
Sharits said the stone, carved and prepared will cost about $3,500 and the maple leaf sculpture will cost about $6,000.
The remainder of the money will be used for landscaping and lightning around the sign.
City Administrator Tom Short said the city had set aside $20,000 in its 2012-2013 budget in anticipation of some kind of request from the Vision Carthage Committee.
Committee members say they hope to have the stone in place by early June.
Page 2 of 2 - In other business, the council:
• Accepted a $185,402 grant from the Steadley Trust to make the next annual payment on the Carthage Golf Course renovation debt service.
• Approved a lease agreement with Dennis and Carolyn Detert for the golf driving range on the east side of Municipal Park.
• Agreed to allow Crowder College to use Carthage Fire Department equipment and facilities for a fire academy at the Carthage Technical Center.
• Appointed Kimberly Fisher to a three-year term on the Powers Museum Board.