VALPARAISO | The city isn't expecting to host the Super Bowl any time soon, but it is looking to borrow an idea Indianapolis used to beautify the city for recent Super Bowl visitors and apply it to improving the appearance of the U.S. 30 corridor.
"The need to fix the railroad overpasses on U.S. 30 is commonly brought up by the mayor when the corridor is discussed," Stuart Summers, executive director of the city's Redevelopment Commission, said. "So, part of the hope is to fix them up. Then I heard that (for Indianapolis) to fix them up for the Super Bowl it cost quite a bit of dough."
Summers said bids to prepare and paint one overpass in Indianapolis ranged from $106,000 to $263,000. That is a bit pricey for Valparaiso, unless the National Football League was going to pick up the tab, so Summers has asked Mark Trumbull for help.
Trumbull is president of Digital Graphic Solutions, in Valparaiso. The company has designed and made banners to hang on City Hall and did the wraps on the downtown bike lockers using the designs created by area elementary students. Summers said the city is looking for cost-effective alternatives to the Indianapolis notion.
"I reached out to Mark because he is a creative person, and he does things like this," Summers said. "Before we jump in and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, I thought I'd ask the commission to spend some for research.
"We will have to talk to the railroads, and they might say, 'Forget it,' or they might have limitations on what we can put on it. It's an opportunity to use the art advisory committee and the visual graphic techniques. It will be something to work on through the winter and do it next year."
Trumbull said he wants to wait until he talks to the commission about what it wants before saying what the alternatives might be, but he said there are several things that can be used to cover the rusted structures, including a rough textured wall medium designed to be heat-applied to concrete or stone.
"It's printable, and you can put any design on it," Trumbull said. "I think the idea is to go with a longer term solution than something for the Super Bowl, which would last about six months. We'd want to create something positive and unique that will draw visitors to Valparaiso and still feel a part of the community."
If approved by the commission at its Wednesday meeting, the study would cost $8,000 to $10,000.