By: Todd Thomas
Thanks to funding from the Morristown Alliance for Culture and Commerce (MACC), there will soon be another great reason to take a walk around downtown Morrisville. In the next few months, beautiful new street signs will appear throughout the downtown. These signs will be very different than the traditional green road signs with white lettering that Vermonters are used to. As you can see in the above photo, downtown Morrisville’s sleek new street signs will highlight the historical significance of our downtown business district. The signs will be topped with a black border that includes the words “Morrisville Historic District” in white lettering. Below the black border, the actual street sign will be brown and utilize white lettering.(Brown signs are typically used to depict historic sites and national parks.) Morrisville’s Historic District is nationally recognized and deserves the same treatment.
In addition to the different coloring, because street signs located within a historic district do not have to meet typical state and federal requirements, Morrisville’s new street signs will be bilingual. Highlighting the French-Canadian heritage of Morrisville, notice the French word for street “rue” before “Portland” in the photo. All of the new historic district street signs will begin with either the French word for street, avenue or even “heights” – given the need for a street sign for Jersey Heights. In addition to celebrating our town’s heritage, the bilingual street signs are meant to be welcoming to French-Canadian tourists, as well as the few dozen French-Canadian second-home owners that already have property in Morrisville. Hopefully, this small effort to be welcoming will result in more Canadian money being spent in Morrisville’s historic district!
I am not sure about the French-Canadians, but most Americans probably made a New Year’s resolution to lose a few pounds in the coming weeks. As a way to burn off some calories and lose a few of these undesired pounds, please consider taking a walk around downtown Morrisville to check out the new and fabulous historic district street signs. Morrisville’s nationally recognized historic district is a great reason to get off your couch and rediscover downtown Morrisville.
And with the new bilingual street signs, some town residents may even learn a little French while they shed some of those unwanted holiday pounds! C’est fantastique!
Todd Thomas has a Master’s Degree in City Planning from Boston University and has worked both in Massachusetts and Vermont as a consultant and as a land use planner for town government. Todd is currently the Planning Director for Morristown, Vermont.
Todd’s recent work includes helping to revitalize downtown Morrisville, making it the fastest growing city and/or historic downtown in the State since the 2010 Census. Todd attributes much of the downtown’s housing and population growth to zoning reform as it relates to minimum parking requirements.