City testing street signs for historic areas

June 12, 1997


Staff Writer

A pilot program to erect street signs that signal a historic district will be tested late this summer on South Prospect Street, city officials said Tuesday.

City Council newcomer J. Wallace "Wally" McClure, at first against supporting the project, said he would give the pilot a chance, but wants feedback from residents before the city spends more money on it.

"One thing I never want to be accused of is frivolous spending of taxpayer dollars," McClure said. The money for the signs could be used for other projects, he said.


Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said that argument could be used for any monetary decision.

The program is a chance to do something for some neighborhoods other than downtown, Metzner said.

South Prospect was chosen for the pilot program because it is the city's smallest historic district, and it would cost only $324 to put new brown street signs at the three intersections, said City Planner Kathy Maher.

Putting signs at all of the city's historic districts is expected to cost no more than $5,000, said Planning Director Ric Kautz. The historic districts include the Oak Hill, Potomac/Broadway and downtown areas.

If city officials should approve new signs for all the historic districts, the project would be phased in over two years, Maher said. The state would pay for new signs along Washington and Franklin streets, she said.

Alfred W. Boyer was the only council member who didn't support the pilot, saying he'd rather wait until the existing street signs need replacing.

Councilwoman Susan Saum-Wicklein, who lives on South Prospect Street, said the brown signs are a nationally recognized tourism tool to let visitors know when they are in an architecturally historic area.

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