DENNIS TERHORST: New signage does not display Manistee’s unique characteristics

TO THE EDITOR:

I was traveling north on Cypress nearing River Street, negotiating the curve, the hill and the approaching stop light. I noticed a change in the landscape to my right. It registered as a replacement sign. It was something about downtown. I circled around and made another pass.

Sure enough, there it was — grand, bland and beige — with changeable copy even. It said something about Old Christmas Weekend or maybe the Sleighbell Parade. Not sure.

Arriving home I felt a compulsion to pull down my Marketing 101 textbook and opened it to the first chapter. It read “Be Different.” I remembered what my old professor always said, “terHorst, when you’ve got it, flaunt it.” Funny, I’ve retained that simple learning all these year.

Something had gone terribly wrong. Grand, bland and beige doesn’t have “it.” What ever it has is certainly not an image of Manistee. The new sign looked pure “Pure Michigan,” the state’s advertising campaign to publicize the unique features of Michigan. The irony was obvious. The new sign flaunted blandness, about and at the entrance to, Manistee’s unique downtown.

Grand, bland and beige is Pure Michigan’s own unique image. The physical presence of a sign may serve to justify Pure Michigan’s funding, but it does nothing to acknowledge Manistee’s uniqueness or pique interest in downtown. The original sign did that. The DDA is also justified. By accepting grant money from Pure Michigan it has done something to satisfy the call for more River Street traffic.

So, there you have it. Everybody’s justified, but Manistee got no justice. In its loss, it gave up only a little of its sole. And, maybe in 20 years or so the error could be corrected.

Dennis terHorst,
Manistee

 

One comment on “DENNIS TERHORST: New signage does not display Manistee’s unique characteristics

  1. avatarGpatulski

    Great Letter!

    It reminds me of the Lamp Posts in downtown Manistee. I see historic lamps in the 1930 – 1940 pictures
    which were taken down to be replaced years later with “reproductions” which are installed incorrectly because they were too short and delivery trucks may hit them. PROGRESS MANISTEE STYLE!

Leave a Reply