HAYWARD -- Locator signs are going up downtown to direct residents and visitors to local destinations, including the Hayward Plunge and the Sun Gallery, but one place they will not point to is Cal State East Bay

Instead, signs showing the way to the state university campus will say "Cal State University." Once known as Cal State Hayward, the university's name change that dropped any reference to the city is still a sore point.

City Council members heard a presentation Tuesday about plans for the signs, scheduled to go up around downtown in March.

The signs will be painted Kelly green to blend in with new streetlights that are part of the Route 238 Improvement Project. Some will be in medians, others will be mounted on streetlights through downtown, especially on the "loop" that is part of the new route intended to move commuter traffic more rapidly through the city center.

Much like the signs in San Francisco that direct visitors to Chinatown, Fisherman's Wharf or the Bay Bridge, the signs in Hayward will point to destinations of interest throughout the city.

In downtown, signs will show the way to City Hall, the Hayward BART station, parking lots, Saturday's farmers market, the Century at Hayward movie theater, and the main library and post office.


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Visitors will also find the way to the Japanese Gardens; the Hayward Plunge, an indoor public swimming pool on Mission Boulevard; Sun Gallery, an art gallery tucked away on E Street; and St. Regis Retirement Center, a large retirement home at Mission and Foothill Boulevard.

The signs, including installation, will cost about $100,000, with the money coming from the Route 238 project funds. The program could be expanded if more money becomes available, said Morad Fakhrai, director of public works, engineering and transportation.

While city staff members came up with the signs' suggested destinations, the list is not final, Fakhrai stressed. Already, the Chamber of Commerce's downtown office is being added after staff members received feedback from earlier presentations, he said.

"There should be one for restaurants," Councilman Al Mendall said after noting that some signs point to shops, but not places to eat, an area the city also is promoting.

City Council members seemed generally pleased with the sign plan.

Councilman Greg Jones said he thought the signs were "an important step in creating a sense of place."

A more direct reaction came from Mendall. "I like them. I like the way they look," he said.

Councilman Francisco Zermeno brought up the touchy subject of the Cal State signs. Many in Hayward consider the deletion of the city's name an insult and still refuse to acknowledge the college's current moniker.

"The Cal State sign will not say East Bay, correct?" Zermeno asked Tuesday.

"Correct," Fakhrai assured him.

Contact Rebecca Parr at 510-293-2473, follow her at Twitter.com/rdparr1 or read her blog at www.ibabuzz.com/hayword.