The City of Miami has received notice that its $120,000 application to the National Scenic Byways Program U.S. Department of Transportation has been approved.
The City of Miami and the Miami Convention and Visitor's Bureau will match the grant with $30,000 of their own funds, creating a $150,000 project. The project is designed to increase national/international tourism on Route 66 to highlight and better tell the story of Miami's section of the historic Route 66 roadbed, according to the city's grant coordinator Larry Eller.
Elements of the project include:
€ The reconstruction of a historic 40-foot wide “Miami, Oklahoma - The Gateway” sign spanning Main Street just north of Steve Owens Boulevard.
€ The reconstruction of the 21-foot Ozark Trail Milepost Marker, referred to as an obelisk, in downtown Miami. A similar marker was constructed in the middle of the intersection of what became Route 66 and Central Street. Constructed around 1919, the Ozark Trail highway system was one of the first regional highway tourism promotions in the United States. The milepost showed the distance between Miami and other cities on the Ozark Trail route.
€ The purchase of directional signs for placement on state highways directing tourists to the Coleman Theatre and the Route 66 Ribbon Highway located south of Miami. It is the only remaining 9-foot-wide section of the original Route 66 highway in the United States.
€ Erection of historical markers on the Route 66 Ribbon Highway, Coleman Theatre, near the “Miami, Oklahoma - The Gateway” sign downtown, and at the Ozark Trail Obelisk downtown.
In a separate and related project, the Miami Convention and Visitor's Bureau will pay for the placement of an historical marker at the old Marathon gas station located at 331 South Main St.
The signs will explain the historic significance of the sites that are all listed on the National Register of Historic Sites.
“I am pleased that the City of Miami will have the opportunity to partner with the National Scenic Byways Program to promote Route 66 tourism in Miami,” said Mayor Brent Brassfield.
“We have a large number of national and international tourists going through Miami on the original Route 66 roadbed in an attempt to rediscover classic America,” Brassfield said. ”For a long time, the city has needed to do a better job in helping tourists find historic sites in the community and better tell the story of historic Route 66 in Miami. This grant will afford us the opportunity for the first time.”
Plans call for an advertising campaign on I-44 directing Route 66 history seekers to Miami.
City Manager Michael Spurgeon said, “The project will greatly aid in downtown Miami revitalization efforts. Reconstructing the “Miami, Oklahoma - The Gateway” archway downtown is historically correct and will serve as a beacon to invite motorists traveling on State Highway 10 (Steve Owens Boulevard) to visit the newly revitalized downtown. It will complement the historic feel of the downtown streetscape lights and store front improvements made by downtown business owners.”