New markers to line Lafayette Trail

What are those new, metal numbers in the ground along Union Avenue and other historic streets in Havre de Grace? That's a question the city's tourism officials hope people will be asking.

In advance of the big War of 1812 commemorative weekend coming up, the city's risk manager has been finishing up the latest addition to the Lafayette Trail, a self-guided tour along Havre de Grace's historic properties.

The new numbers help clarify what the sites along the trail are. The trail has been identified with a blue line down the streets.

"We wanted to have the city put its best foot forward," city risk manager Patrick Sypolt said Wednesday.

He took the task upon himself, unrelated to his role as risk manager, to put the light-blue, numbered markers into the sidewalk.

The project is about two-thirds complete, he said. Some traffic cones have been visible around town in the places where the completed markers will be.

The numbers began to appear about a week and a half ago.

The idea was started by the city's Historic Preservation Commission, which purchased the medallions, tourism manager Brigitte Peters said Wednesday.

"The thing with the trail is, it's been such a plan in progress," Peters said.

She explained every aspect of the trail, down to the color of the line, has been carefully designed.

Sypolt said he had to determine how to best put them on the trail so they would not pose a walking hazard or get dislodged by snow plows, and would also best represent the trail by looking professional.

The process involves drilling into the sidewalk and then pouring concrete back so it lies flush against the medallion, he said. An epoxy cement is used and then a concrete seal is put around it, he said.

"I think it's a nice presentation," he said.

The medallions add another level to the trail, Peters said.

"I wouldn't be surprised if it keeps going from here," she said.

The tourism office has been considering ideas like iPods that people can pick up at the Visitor Center, to give the tour an audio component.

"I think it's always growing. I think there is always something that can be added," Peters said.

The Lafayette Trail covers about 800 historic structures in Havre de Grace's architectural history.

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