On Monday, Visit Shawnee, Inc. (VSI) presented its semi-annual report to City Commissioners.

On Monday, Visit Shawnee, Inc. (VSI) presented its semi-annual report to City Commissioners.

Board Chairman Randy Gilbert said VSI — now fully staffed — has moved into its new home at 231 N. Bell, sharing a building with the Greater Shawnee Area Chamber of Commerce.

He said VSI just completed its first audit, which was clean.

VSI Director of Tourism Emily Lutz reported that efforts are being directed to improving the group's website, hoping to finish by March.

She said making maps readily available and tracking coupons online are among projects being worked on right now.

Lutz said VSI hands out 6,000 goody bags per year, most going out during the summer months.

A major effort this year, the City of Shawnee — with support from VSI — underwent a rebranding campaign that resulted in new logos, taglines and a new wayfinding plan.

On Monday, City Manager Justin Erickson received authorization to solicit bids for wayfinding signage.

VSI fully funded the planning efforts and a number of community presentations and stakeholder meetings were held to ensure broad local support.

Erickson said the wayfinding plan contemplates a series of gateway, trailblazer and district signs strategically placed around the community to define places and guide the public to various destinations. An agreement with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) was approved on Dec. 5, which allows the City to place signage on certain roads under ODOT jurisdiction, Erickson said.

He said he anticipates completion of the project in the second quarter of 2017.

Erickson said the City of Shawnee has $150,000 earmarked for wayfinding efforts.

In addition, VSI has set aside $75,000 to assist with implementation of the plan, for a total overall budget of $225,000, he said.

You can reach Vicky O. Misa at (405) 214-3962.