‘A sense of place’

After five years, directional sign to Marshalltown returns to I-80 near Altoona

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
For the first time in five years, “Marshalltown” has returned to a sign on eastbound U.S. Interstate 80 where it exits to U.S. Highway 65/Iowa Highway 330, further connecting Marshalltown to the Des Moines metro area.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO For the first time in five years, “Marshalltown” has returned to a sign on eastbound U.S. Interstate 80 where it exits to U.S. Highway 65/Iowa Highway 330, further connecting Marshalltown to the Des Moines metro area.

Central Iowa drivers may have noticed a change on eastbound U.S. Interstate 80 at its interchange with U.S. Highway 65/Iowa Highway 330 in Altoona: the sign before that exit once again reads “Marshalltown.”

“Originally, we lost our directional signage on 330 off of Interstate 80 because they eliminated the left-hand exit when they reconstructed that intersection,” said Marshall Economic Development (MED) Director Tom Deimerly, adding the new sign went up within the last two weeks. “This impacts our residents, visitors to the area, opportunities for tourism and economic development, as well as our business and industry, because it brings in clients.”

Along with MED, he said staff from the Marshalltown Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Marshalltown Area Chamber of Commerce, Marshall County and the city of Marshalltown helped work with the Iowa Department of Transportation to see the sign put up.

“The sign was eliminated about five years ago, and since then we’ve struggled with people from outside the area [not] knowing how to get to town,” Deimerly said. “The only signage we had was at the end of the exit ramp, after you’d already exited.”

He said some visitors to Marshalltown missed the exit on the way to events like the state swimming meet.

“We were receiving feedback from individuals that they actually missed the exit because there was no directional signage there,” Deimerly said.

Over the past five years, the local entities worked with DOT engineering staff to see the sign put up, Deimerly said. He added the sign is more than a way-finding tool.

“It’s more than just directional signage; it gives people a sense of place,” he said. “I think it sends a message to outsiders coming into the community, and at the same time it gives our community, our people, a sense of ownership and a sense of place.”

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Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or asodders@timesrepublican.com