It’s been more than 20 years since my first trip through Poplar Bluff.
At the time, I lived west of here in West Plains. The trip between my hometown and where I would attend school in Cape Girardeau became very familiar as my sister and I crisscrossed southeast and central Missouri for holidays, breaks, visits and other celebrations.
We have frequently traveled the route from Thayer to Doniphan and Poplar Bluff, which brings visitors into the south side of town.
In those days before I lived here and because familiar with the area, I always thought it was shame there wasn’t something announcing your arrival at what is an economic and health care hub for our region. Something beyond the green and white exit signs, that is.
I was pleased to hear recently at a city council meeting that this is going to change.
A welcome to Poplar Bluff sign is planned for the U.S. 60 and Business 60 interchange.
A drawing of the plans presented to the city council shows a sign almost 11 feet tall, with a wooden arch that reads, “Gateway to the Ozarks.” Below it will be a stone facade with 4-foot tall letters saying “Poplar Bluff.”
It may seem like a simple item. Some may even think the standard green and white road signs accomplish the same goal.
But all of the steps we take to “dress up” our community, to emphasize what makes us unique and to nudge drivers onto our city streets can turn travelers into visitors. They help us make new friends, who tell their friends about the great restaurant they found at the “Gateway to the Ozarks,” or the great store, or the great entertainment venue.
These are small steps that can add up to big strides as we continue to grow.
City council members will vote Monday on some housekeeping matters accepting right of way for the area of the sign will be placed. I look forward to the completion of this project in the coming months.
Donna Farley is the editor of the Daily American Republic. She can be reached at email@example.com.