Casper looking at ways to drive down $1.44 million estimated cost to install 185 signs

CASPER, Wyo. — The Casper City Council formally adopted a “Casper Area Wayfinding Plan” which outlines an approach to implementing signage to highlight the community’s assets and attractive destinations.

The plan was spearheaded by the Casper Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and provides direction not only for city planners in Casper, but also in Evansville, Mills, Bar Nunn and Natrona County.

Implementing all of the 216 signs across the five jurisdictions as described in the plan would come with an estimated cost of over $1.68 million. The majority of signs would be put up within the City of Casper if the full plan were to be rolled out.

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Installing the 185 signs for Casper would cost an estimated $1.44 million. These estimates are based off a a cost per sign of $6,489.24 in addition to paying a general contractor roughly $240K to install the signs.

The cost estimates as identified in the Wayfinding plan for each of the five jurisdictions are as follows:

Community Development Director Liz Becher told the Casper City Council during their Tuesday, July 14 work session that she is hopeful that a local sign company might be able to provide the signs at a lower cost. She added that staff think the installation can also be done in-house without finding a general contractor as another means to save costs.

Becher noted that she thinks companies like Bar D Sign Co., Nix Signs and Superior Signs Supply have demonstrated the ability to do quality work and may be able to offer the signs at a lower unit cost than estimated under the Wayfinding plan.

“I see the talent here,” Becher said.

She addressed the council regarding the topic during the work session to see whether they would like staff to put out a request for proposals that would give the city a more clear picture of whether they could bring the project cost down.

Becher and City Manager Carter Napier noted that if the city moves forward on the project, they recommend a phased approach so that not all 185 signs would be installed at once as another way to bring down the cost of the project amid difficult economic times.

Instead, the city would look at installing signs directing people to priority 1 and 2 destinations identified under the plan.

That would include signs in Casper directing people to places like Casper Mountain, the Casper-Natrona County International Airport, Fort Caspar, the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center, Casper College, David Street Station, Hogadon, Rotary Park the Tate Geological Museum, Natrona County High School and the Old Yellowstone District

Destinations under the Wayfinding plan are prioritized as follows:

Becher explains that one goal of the signs would be to direct people off of Interstate-25 and then around the community once they have exited.

She showed the council an example that identifies some of the priority 1 and 2 sign locations in Casper:

The signs would be limited to listing 3-4 locations per sign. Becher added that the signs “are sizable and would bepole mounted.” The design looks as follows:

Becher added that some Natrona County commissioners have expressed interest in knowing more about how the city plans to proceed.

“I personally would like to see us go out for an RFP (request for proposals),” she told the council, noting that this could give the city a better sense of direction on how to move forward.

She said that if the city could find a company able to offer the signs at a lower rate, the council could look at possibly installing about half of the overall 185 signs identified in the plan for Casper during the first phase of the project.

“I don’t want to necessarily go down the road of an RFP if you all have some doubts on that,” Becher added.

Vice Mayor Khrystyn Lutz asked what options the city had to fund the project should the council wish to move forward.

Napier said that he couldn’t offer a certain answer to that question under the current financial situation. He said there is a possibility the council could direct some Opportunity Fund dollars to the project. He said that the city’s financial situation might become more clear moving further into the fiscal year and that if council wants to move forward with the Wayfinding signage implementation, staff may be able to identify funding options at a later date.

Councilman Charlie Powell said he thought that one of the primary objectives of the project was to increase economic activity by raising awareness about amenities Casper has to offer. He asked whether private entities might be interested in partnering with the city to fund the project.

Becher said that Natrona County Commissioner Brook Kaufman “has been particularly creative as a commissioner” and has generated some ideas about how to secure funding. Kaufman is also executive director of Visit Casper and Becher noted that Visit Casper have set aside some funding to go toward the Wayfinding project.

Partnerships with destinations like the Wyoming Medical Center or Casper College are also something that could be pursued, Becher said. Putting out a request for proposals and having a more concrete picture of final costs might make it easier for the Wayfinding project’s steering committee to secure private partners, she added.

“I like the idea of saving money right now,” Mayor Steve Freel said.

The council indicated they’d like staff to move forward on issuing the request for proposals.

Further details area available in the council’s work packet.

If you would like to contact members of the Casper City Council regarding this or any other issue, here is their contact information:

Mayor Steve Freel (Ward III, Term expires 1/3/23):

  • ​(307) 259-1276

Vice Mayor Khrystyn Lutz (Ward I, Term expires 1/3/23):

  • (307) 359-3673

Councilman Charlie Powell (Ward II, Term Expires 1/5/21):

  • (307) 577-6042

Councilman Shawn Johnson (Ward II, Term expires 1/3/23):

  • (307) 337-5057
  • (307) 277-7377

Councilman Ken Bates (Ward II, Term expires 1/5/21):

  • (307) 473-1247

Councilman Steve Cathey (Ward III, Term Expires 1/5/21):

  • (307) 472-1837

Councilman Mike Huber (Ward I, Term expires 1/5/21):

  • (307) 266-4188

Councilman Ray Pacheco (Ward III, Term expires 1/3/23):

  • (307) 258-1226

Council members can also be reached by mail at: 200 N. David Street, 82601

If you would like to contact members in your specific ward, but don’t know which ward you are in, a map is available at the City of Casper’s website.

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