Facility Profile - July 2012
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Enduring Signs
Various Locations

By Tammy York

Well-engineered recycled plastic park signs are created from boards with layers of distinct colors to provide contrast for artwork, logos and words. "The sign boards are created when three layers of molten plastic are brought together. The layers are literally melted together so it is impossible to delaminate," said David Robbins, president of Park-Signs. "Earth tones in browns, tans and greens are the best colors for a long-lasting sign. Avoid bright colors such as reds and oranges."

Signs made in a variety of earth tones provide color stability and produce better long-term color-matching results than bright colors. After the boards are cured, the graphics are routed out, exposing the other colors of the board.

When Metro Parks in Summit County, Ohio, used routed wood, they had a hard time achieving the high level of detail they wanted for their trail icons, so they opted to use recycled plastic signs that were routed to precisely match the design they provided.

"We wanted the yellow and brown trail icons to be modern, with a fresh look, while also making them easier to identify, especially in low-light situations, such as early morning or late afternoon," said Nate Eppink, chief of marketing and communications for Metro Parks, which manages 14 parks and encompasses 11,000 acres with more than 125 miles of trails.

There are different ways to go about changing to recycled plastic signs. The funds can be allocated over time by replacing the signs in sections, such as one park at a time or the entrance signs followed by the direction and information signs.

"With recycled plastic signs, we save $20,000 in not having to replace the signs. In fact, the only HDPE signs we have had to replace over the years are the ones that were stolen," said Taylor Bressler, parks planning and project manager, Spokane Parks and Recreation, Wash. "We have 120 signs, and that includes the 87 entrance signs and the multiple directional signs. We standardized all of our signs so people know that if they see those colors they are within our park."

Color, font and artwork consistency is important when you are adding new signs next to older signs. "It is important to keep an overall consistency with the park signs," Younkin said. "When we put new recycled plastic signs next to recycled plastic signs that have been out in the field for years, we haven't noticed any difference in color, size, art or font. That's even with the older signs being exposed to the elements."

"The recycled plastic signs look nice. They are not too much or too little. And, the recycled plastic is an environmentally responsible product," Foley said. "It is one specific way we can keep continuity between our parks, save money and show how recycled plastic can be used.

Park-Signs, A Division of Bright Idea Shops: www.park-signs.net