Galveston County is in the planning stages to install a digital gateway sign that would provide citizens with emergency information and promote economic development by generating revenue to offset the construction and operating costs.
The dynamic gateway sign would brand the entrance to Galveston County and include a digital message element to allow county and other governmental agencies to immediately communicate important information to the public. On a day to day basis, the signage would highlight community and public tourism activities happening throughout the county, enhancing economic development for cities and communities throughout the region.
The sign would be placed along Interstate 45 near the northern entrance to the county. While the initial cost could be around $580,000, the cost is expected to be fully offset through marketing activities. County Judge Mark Henry said over the life of the sign the amortized construction and operating costs would be about $4,000 per month, which could be offset by revenue generated by event sponsorships.
“When we considered the possible sponsorship revenue numbers it is very likely the gateway signage will not only pay for itself, but also offset some operating costs for emergency management or our economic development department,” Judge Henry said. “We expect to get a valuable tool at a net-zero total cost, and possibly even generate net revenue.”
Commissioner Ryan Dennard agreed that despite the initial sticker shock, the idea has some major economic advantages and contributes to the county’s effort to attract business and tourism to the area.
Dennard also said the project was identified as “high value” during the economic development conference the county held more than a year ago.
“League City has been considering a similar project, and Kemah has utilized this type of marketing in the past,” Dennard said. “The business case for it seems pretty strong. It would promote economic development in a way that is direct and tangible, and likely would more than pay for itself over its life.”
Judge Henry emphasized the region-wide value of the project.
“The signage would be used to promote events in cities throughout Galveston County, from the Dickinson Festival of Lights, to the League City Music Festival, to the Texas City Fun Fest,” Henry said. “It would expand regional awareness of these happenings and increase consumer visits and spending in Galveston County.”