Morris downtown group unveils new sign near Washington Street

MORRIS — Shop, dine and enjoy nostalgic downtown Morris — that's the message Morris Downtown Development Partnership is broadcasting to Route 47 commuters via a new sign near Washington Street.

The MDDP and various sponsors unveiled the sign Wednesday morning after a year of planning, organizing and securing funds for the project.

"The whole purpose of it is to drive traffic to downtown Morris," MDDP Executive Director Julie Applegate said.

Complete with a light-up letter board, the sign will advertise various events happening in downtown Morris. Applegate said they wanted the sign installed by the Gus Macker 3-on-3 basketball tournament held earlier this month, but they are still happy to have it for upcoming events like Liberty Days and the Grundy County Corn Festival.

Landscaping the area around the sign is the only remaining project, which will be donated by Trotter Landscape Company in Morris.

"So many different groups donated to this. It wouldn't be possible without the help from the community," Applegate said.

Among the supporters that donated services and money were Ayer's Electric, Home for the Holidays, Midwest Sign Works, the Grundy County Board, Narvick Brother's, Grundy County Redi-Mix, Steve's Lawn Service and Stott Contracting.

The city of Morris also contributed to the project by loaning the MDDP the $12,500 needed to finish the project. The low-interest loan was approved during last month's city council meeting.

The total cost of the sign was about $15,000.

Applegate said residents voiced praise for the sign on social media after Applegate posted a photo last week.

"People on Facebook have said they want to get their picture under it," Applegate said. "The response so far has been wonderful."