DIXON, Illinois – About 14,000 drivers pass by the City of Dixon as they make their way across Interstate-88.
Now, the city wants signs on the tollways to promote businesses and other local attractions.
Juan Paredes is the manager at Las Palmas Mexican Restaurant, which is just off I-88. He wishes more of those drivers would stop into his local business.
“I want more people to this town, not only the business but the town too,” says Paredes.
Dixon is trying to stand out from the drive-by’s with new signs promoting local attractions that will bring more business to the city.
“One of the biggest things we are missing out on when it comes to drawing people to Dixon is our commuter traffic,” says Stacey Colledge, President of the Dixon Chamber of Commerce.
For cities on the Illinois Tollway there are strict signage laws.
“It really comes down to the difference between your regular highway and the tollway and what is allowed,” elaborates Colledge.
For example, brown signs distinguishing historic landmarks and attractions are allowed.
“We are allowed do lodging and we are allowed to do attractions,” clarifies Colledge. “We are not allowed to do food or gas as a blue signage out there.”
With no signs promoting local businesses or restaurants they must advertise off the highway; which is why Paredes relies on traffic from social media to bring customers in.
Dixon businesses, like Paredes', say they hope the tollway will consider their plan to allow more community advertising.
“We do have a lot going on in this community and it’s not just a sleepy drive-by town, it’s very vibrant town,” Colledge emphasizes.
And that message might just convince you to make a pit stop.
The city council says they will begin talk on this early in January 2019.
State Representative Tom Demmer is currently in touch with the Illinois Tollway System to see what possibilities lie ahead.