Racine considers gateway arches at both ends of Main Street

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District-defining arches are a familiar sight in a number of Midwest cities. A local effort is underway to put similar historic arches at both ends of Racine's Main Street downtown.

Mayor Cory Mason will ask the Racine City Council Tuesday to get behind the effort to create historic-looking ornamental arches at both ends of a length of Main Street downtown.

According to resolution to be heard Tuesday by the Council: “Through the concerted efforts of multiple downtown merchants and business owners, a plan and fund-raising effort has been put forth to bring historic-themed, ornamental arch-way signs spanning Main Street at the entrance points to the traditional Downtown core business district at State and 6th Streets.”

Similar neighborhood or historic district arches are found in many Midwest cities, including Milwaukee and Chicago.

The arch effort has been driven by Dan Dumont, owner of Dewey’s Restaurant, 600 Main Street. The southernmost arch would stand at the intersection where his restaurant is located. The resolution notes that a private fundraising effort is underway, but it does not note how much money has been raised to date.

Downtown Racine Corporation (DRC) has taken formal action to endorse and support this effort as consistent with the long-term strategy to implement methods for traffic calming along Main Street,” reads the resolution, “and to highlight and showcase one of the greatest and largest inventories of successfully-preserved, historic downtown buildings anywhere in the State of Wisconsin.”

The resolution calls for city staff to work with representatives of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to determine how and if an installation would be allowed, as well as where it would be located, configured and designed. It also suggests that preliminary design work could be awarded to Corbin Design, the Michigan firm that created Racine’s wayfinding signage systems. The firm has also been responsible for signage and design efforts in Milwaukee and many other communities.

Costs for the design firm would be covered by room tax revenues up to $10,000, but that “a final plan for financing and installing the ornamental arch-way signs … shall rely on private fund-raising, and to the extent necessary a form of ‘challenge Grant’ funded by the City.”

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