Houlton to install tourism sign off interstate exit

Posted Oct. 01, 2010, at 4:57 a.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 11:50 a.m.

HOULTON, Maine — Southern Aroostook Development Corp. has launched a campaign to create an illuminated sign directing tourists to Houlton’s historic downtown area.

“This sign will have immediate impact by letting the traveling public learn more about our treasured jewel — our downtown,” said Jon McLaughlin, SADC executive director, when announcing the project.

The sign, which is being created by Sign Services in Stetson, will stand 25 feet tall with an 11-by-12-foot cabinet and internally illuminated graphics. McLaughlin said the 4-foot-high, 12-foot-wide full-color message center in the cabinet would be radio controlled to change the display to reflect town events.

The sign, which will be located on Dunn Furniture Co. property, will face the northbound I-95 exit 302. McLaughlin estimated the cost of the project at $40,000.

The idea for the sign grew out of an SADC committee proposal to recognize Houlton’s assets. That committee, “Sold on Houlton,” was headed by Dallas Henderson.

The late Houlton businessman, civic leader and SADC board member “had a longtime vision of a directional sign alerting tourists getting off exit 302 at Houlton about the downtown,” said McLaughlin. But before design and work on the sign could begin, Henderson passed away earlier this year.

The committee is continuing with Henderson’s vision and, according to McLaughlin, has undertaken the project as a memorial to him.

In order to raise money for the new sign, SADC will rely on in-kind donations for earthwork, concrete and electrical work, as well as cash contributions. McLaughlin said there would be four levels of donations for cash contributors to be recognized with inscriptions on a plaque that will be placed in the Houlton Town Office.

He said the donation levels will be: Dallas Memorial Gifts, $1,000 and up; Welcome to Houlton, $500 to $999; History’s Hiding Place, $250 to $499; and Market Square gifts, $100 to $249.

McLaughlin added that no donation is too large or too small and that any donation, “whether it is $5 or $10, is welcome. It is the goal to have this sign installed by year’s end. With everyone’s help, as civic-minded citizens of Houlton, we will make Dallas’ last community dream come true.”

The SADC project is in collaboration with the town of Houlton, and McLaughlin added that a direct-mail campaign would be complemented by personal solicitations to civic and business leaders.

For more information, contact McLaughlin, SADC, P.O. Box 783, Houlton 04730, by calling 521-0157 or e-mail at sadc@aroostook21.com.

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