New gateway signs in the works

MILFORD – First impressions count, and often the first thing drivers see when they’re entering a town or city is its welcome sign.

And for drivers going west on 101A, from Amherst into Milford, there is a slab of granite that says “Welcome to Milford.”

The stone is definitely in line with the town’s granite-industry heritage, but it resembles a tombstone and is so inconspicuous that few drivers probably notice it.

At the other three main entrances there are only the thin, vertical state Department of Transportation signs telling drivers what town they’re entering.

Now the Milford Improvement Team is planning new signs for all four entrances to town.

At the selectmen’s June 11 meeting MIT’s Kent Chappell and Ed Killam showed town officials plans for the signs they want to install at all four gateways to town: across from the Quarry Condominiums, at the Milford-Brookline border on Route 13, at the Irving gas station on Route 101 coming from Wilton and one to replace the “tombstone” on 101A.

Kent told the board they had considered granite for the signs, but they would all be in the state right of way, and the New Hampshire DOT requires signs that do minimal damage if they’re hit by a car.

MIT found a Manchester sign company, he said, that can produce granite-like signs out of plastic with posts that give way if they’re hit, so they meet DOT requirements, require minimal maintenance, and have the same look as downtown signs

The signs, 6 feet wide and 4 feet high, also might be lit with solar LED lights.

MIT would pay for them and the company would take charge of the state approval process.

Selectmen were enthusiastic and said they signs in line with plans to unify signs for all the town recreation areas.

Chappell said they would like to remove the “tombstone” and perhaps the Milford Historical Society would want it.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.