ROCKINGHAM COUNTY – The signs that help direct people to the water recreation points in Rockingham County have a fresh look thanks to a partnership between the N.C. Department of Transportation and Rockingham County Tourism Development Authority (TDA).
TDA staff reached out to NCDOT last year to explore options for replacing the existing signs that point people in the right direction to access Rockingham County's blueways, which includes rivers and lakes. With 19 years of wear and tear on them, the previous signs were more than ready to retire and make way for their replacements.
As the previous signs started showing significant age, concern from local TDA experts began to rise. With 16 access points countywide, water recreation is the number one tourist attraction in Rockingham County. These points are located in all corners of the county – along the Dan, Haw, Mayo, and Smith rivers, and at the Haw River and Mayo River state parks, Belews Lake, Lake Reidsville, and Lake Hunt and the access signs are an integral piece in directing visitors to Rockingham County to them.
“Being situated between Greensboro, Raleigh, and the Virginia line, our location is amazing," said Robin Yount, the Tourism Manager for the TDA. “Our blueways, along with our location, are key drivers in attracting visitors to our county."
“Tourism is a vital piece of economic growth in Rockingham County," said Leigh Cockram, Director, Rockingham County Economic Development, Small Business, and Tourism. “In 2019 alone, domestic visitors to and within Rockingham County spent a record $80.76 million, an increase of just over 7% from 2018. Giving our visitors the tools they need to make the most of their trip to Rockingham County is what keeps them coming back to our amazing community!"
TDA took inventory of all the access points with help from the Dan River Basin Association, then worked with NCDOT's local district and traffic units to settle on sign designs. The TDA supplied the new signs and NCDOT agreed to help get them installed.
“We understand what these water-based recreational opportunities mean to the residents and visitors of Rockingham County, and are glad to be able to assist in updating these wayfinding signs," said NCDOT District Engineer Jason Julian. “The fresh signs will also help the Tourism Authority as it prepares to rebrand its blueway system in the near future."