BRADENTON -- In about three weeks, bright colorful signs will show motorists on Manatee Avenue they've reached their downtown designation.
Johnette Isham, Realize Bradenton director, said her economic development organization is always working to promote the assets of downtown to attract more visitors, residents and businesses.
"More than 40,000 people drive west on State Road 64 (Manatee Avenue West) every day and often do not realize that they are passing the really cool urban core of Manatee County," Isham said.
The signs will be placed on light poles from First Avenue West to the Wares Creek Bridge, said Dave Gustafson, director of the Downtown Development Authority.
"It's another great tool to advertise all the things that are going on in downtown Bradenton," Gustafson said.
He said tourists who come through will say: "Wow, I need to stop here."
Realize Bradenton created signs that will read "enjoy," "shop," or "dine." Eight designs will be displayed throughout the urban core with 30 banners on Manatee Avenue West alone, Isham said.
Gustafson said the signs are attention-getters.
"I love them. They are quick phrases. I think it's perfect," said Gustafson.
He said the DDA has partnered with the Florida Department of Transportation to use its light poles to place signs. Designs have been sent to FDOT for review.
"The thing is we already have the permission and the poles already have the banner hardware on it; we're just waiting for their blessing," said Gustafson.
Isham said the signs will encourage people to spend time and dollars downtown.
"We want them to stop in downtown or return to eat, shop, stay and visit the South Florida Museum, the Art Center, Manatee Performing Arts Center, Village of the Arts and the Riverwalk," said Isham.
Gustafson said the signs will help direct people to businesses and events such as the Da Vinci exhibit happening downtown.
"These banners, as well as print ads, electronic promotion, social media, and our 75 events are all part of an integrated strategy we use to promote Bradenton as one of the best riverfront communities in the United States," she said.
Janey Tate, city of Bradenton and Palmetto reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. You can follow her on Twitter @Janey_Tate.