By Ryan Cornell
Drivers traveling on Interstate 81 could see the four highway signs promoting the "Strasburg Tourist Info Center" and "Cedar Creek & Belle Grove National Historical Park" by this summer.
Town Manager Judson Rex said the interstate signs and their funding were approved 7-1 as proposed at Tuesday night's meeting. He said the opposing argument, delivered by Councilwoman Jocelyn Vena, was not against the signs, but the town's relationship with the Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation and Hupp's Hill property.
"We don't have a lease on the property where the visitors center is," Rex said. "Her argument was that we shouldn't make an investment in a visitors center that we don't have a long-term lease or agreement we'll be there."
The signs will be located alongside the north- and southbound lanes of I-81 before exit 298 as well as on the exit ramp onto Route 11. Because the Strasburg tourist info center signs are sharing frames with the National Park Service, the cost is $32,115, as opposed to nearly double the cost without the partnership. After an $11,000 donation from Hometown Strasburg, the town would pay $21,000 in general contingency funds.
Economic Development and Planning Manager Kimberly Murray, who presented the proposal to the council last week, shared her excitement over a phone call on Wednesday.
"I already emailed Virginia Logos and VDOT to tell them the news," she said.
She said the blue signs, which will be obtained in a one-time purchase, are a smart long-term investment in the town.
"I think it's going to draw a lot of people off the interstate and past the McDonalds to see it," she said. "And they're going to find out there's a lot to see and do here in Strasburg."
Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or firstname.lastname@example.org