You Can Go Your Own Way

You Can Go Your Own Way

Making it easier for both visitors and residents to navigate the city's urban core with its wayfinding program.

Over the past decade the landscape of businesses in Hamilton’s central business district and Main Street have drastically changed. Seemingly every year new signs are adoring already established buildings along the main strip on Hamilton’s busiest roads. Soon, thanks to the benefits of newly established programs, made possibile by a partnership between Hamilton's DORA program, the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, and Hamilton's Visitors Bureau, you’ll be able to see all the new additions and stops in Hamilton. 

Just under 30 different signs will be spread throughout the city’s recently expanded DORA District in an effort to attract the expected influx of visitors to local businesses.

“For years and years, the county has had vehicular wayfinding. Like the Butler County signs that say ‘Pyramid Hill.’ But we don’t have a lot of pedestrian wayfinding,” said Mallory Greenham, Assistant to the City Manager. “Through the success of our DORA program, we were able to fund the design and development of an all new pedestrian wayfinding program throughout all of our urban core.” 

The DORA, or designated outdoor refreshment area, launched in 2018. This past year it expanded its original boundary to include more area surrounding downtown. The sale of DORA cups has played an important role in funding this program. 

The wayfinding kiosks will display a map of downtown which is broken up into seven distinct districts; Main Street, the Central Business District, German Village, Champion Canyon, Maple Avenue Corridor, East High Gateway and North End. The map displays 81 different points of interest including but not limited to restaurants, bars, shops and landmarks. 

Champion Canyon as a district includes Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill. The Maple Avenue Corridor, or “MAC”, will include the relocated train depot and Amp House Brewing. The North End district runs up Heaton St and will include Stone Tavern. Those three districts were recently created in joint with this wayfinding program. 

One of the main driving points for such a kiosk in Hamilton is the rise of expected visitors in the city going forward, thanks in large part to the opening of Spooky Nook. 

“We want people to know that they can get to where they want to go on foot. We don’t want people to get in their car,” said Greenham. “On the maps there will be a display of how long it will take to walk to each place.”

In most places the signs will include three different panels and were all designed by LemonGrenade Creative.  One side will display the downtown walking map, another will have more detailed information regarding the district you're currently in, and the third side will have other various highlights like upcoming events.  These third sides are maintained by the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.

“We’ve heard from businesses for many years that they’re constantly being asked about what else is out there,” said Greenham. “Say you stay at the Courtyard Marriott. You obviously see Tano Bistro, Casual Pint, Pourhouse and Chick ’n Cone, but maybe you don’t drive down Main Street.”

In addition to these signs, businesses will pass wayfinding maps out to customers as a way of promoting the rest of local businesses in the immediate area. 

This story is a part of a collaboration between the Hamiltonian and City of Hamilton for their 2023 annual report. You can view the whole issue of this report here:


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