HOBART | Linda Papp didn't know Hobart had a lakefront until she opened her downtown restaurant six years ago.
"I'm sure that there are a lot of people who are unaware we have a waterfront community," Papp said.
Papp said she is cheering recent efforts by city officials to help outsiders find downtown Hobart through branding — including a new logo and signs.
"I think the effort is well thought out," Papp said.
Papp, a native of Valparaiso, said she and her husband, David Papp, purchased a Victorian house on Lake George nearly six years ago and converted it to the upscale restaurant, 54 Main Bistro.
Once customers find the restaurant, they fall in love with it and the lakefront view, she said.
But knowing it's there is the trick.
City officials have approved plans they hope will make it easier for outsiders to locate Hobart's downtown.
Three boards joined together to approve a newly designed logo seal and sign system for the downtown lakefront district.
"This is a very important meeting for the city and the perception of the city for many years to come," Mayor Brian Snedecor said.
The Redevelopment Commission, Parks Board and Board of Public Works joined together to approve the $1.1 million downtown improvement plan recently.
Director of Development Denarie Kane said a study last year revealed a need for a new branding plan for Hobart's downtown.
Financing of the new logo and sign system, some of which will be implemented this year, will be through the Redevelopment Commission because the downtown is part of a designated economic development area, Kane said.
Craig Glazier, an architect for Ratio in Indianapolis, made a presentation of the identification prototypes before a vote on the project was taken.
The new logo incorporates the clock tower, which is identified with Lake George, and the color blue to tie into the lake.
Brick and steel gateways will be used at four locations near the downtown, including Festival Park at Old Ridge Road, Lincoln Street at the bike trail, Third Street at the bridge and Third Street at Duck Creek.