People ought to know when they’re in Lake Highlands.

That’s the aim of a beautification effort by the Lake Highlands Area Improvement Association that calls for erecting at least 55 monument-style signs throughout the neighborhood.

“We need something to make Lake Highlands more identifiable,” says Sean Christopher, executive vice president of the association. “Lake Highlands is a special place to live and raise a family. Now, visitors will be able to identify Lake Highlands as a special part of Dallas.”

The Lake Highlands Beautification Project would place signs at neighborhood entry points, such as Forest Lane at Central Expressway, Royal Lane at Central, and Northwest Highway at Jupiter. Others would mark significant locations within the area’s borders, such as White Rock Lake Park and neighborhood associations.

Native plants and at least two trees will be planted in nearby medians. As the project progresses, all areas of Lake Highlands would take on a cohesive look, Christopher says.

“We want all the signs, medians and landscaping to look the same,” he says.

City Councilman Bill Blaydes, who represents the area, supports efforts to reinforce the small-town identity of Lake Highlands.

“We’ll never be a town unto ourselves, but we certainly can identify ourselves to the rest of the city,” he says. “It just adds a little cohesiveness to the community, like adding spring flowers to the table.”

The association plans to fund the project through corporate donations and fund-raising events. Several neighborhood associations already have committed to paying for their signs, Christopher says.

The first 55 signs will cost $165,000, he adds. The association has identified locations for 20 more.

Construction is planned in phases over several years. Depending on fund-raising and neighborhood association involvement, 15 could go up within the next year. Phase Two calls for 11 signs along LBJ Freeway. Phase Three marks additional entry points, and Phase Four involves internal sites.

Any sign sponsored by a group would move up on the construction timeline.

The sign design was modified from one used by Highland Village for markers around their city. Highland Village officials offered valuable advice and gave the design to the association at no charge, Christopher says.

The beige, stone structures complement existing rustic features at White Rock Lake. The logo was designed by a Texas Department of Transportation architect to use on the proposed bridge at Northwest Highway and Skillman.

“We wanted to make sure what we were doing matched what they were doing,” Christopher says.

The signs will be graffiti- and fade-resistant. They will be constructed on private land and maintained by the association. But members hope residents take ownership in the project, Christopher says.

“We’d like companies to sponsor signs, and we want to adopt them out to groups for maintenance,” he says. “It’s a community project, and…we’ve had strong support from the people we’ve talked to.”