Signs of a Spruce-up Around Southern Pines
Southern Pines this week finished installing new street signs in its historic district, a project designed to reduce sign clutter and enhance the downtown ambience.
“The street signs in Southern Pines had been up for years and had become tired-looking,” Mayor David McNeill said. “It was time to have something fresh for the town, and the historic district was a great place to start.”
McNeill was one of seven members of a committee appointed in April 2011 by the Southern Pines Town Council to spearhead the $22,507 project. The others were Greg Zywocinski, Jeannie Carpentier, Lynn Anderson, Scott Bolton, Lee Riggsbee and Assistant Town Manager David White.
“The council tasked us with looking at street signage to see if we couldn’t upgrade it,” White said. “We also needed to adhere to new state and federal standards for street signs.”
U.S. Department of Transportation regulations now call for larger signs, larger letters and better reflective quality, among other things, while the N.C. Department of Transportation has new breakaway standards for the posts.
Riggsbee said the committee initially took a walking tour of the historic district.
“From my perspective, the most interesting thing was to see how many posts were actually in the ground at every intersection in downtown Southern Pines,” he said. “There were different sizes and different heights. Some were bent. Others were discolored or turned the wrong way.
“It’s something you wouldn’t think about when you’re downtown until you make that assessment.”
The committee then spent several months deciding on the style and color — brown, blue or green — for the new signs.
“We wanted the signs to have a distinctive look, something like the new lampposts we put in the historic district a few years ago,” White said. “One of the goals was to make the posts look similar.”
After choosing a brown background for the signs and finding the right posts, the committee decided to attach stop signs to as many of the new street signs as possible.
“We needed to consolidate the number of signs and clean up the clutter,” Riggsbee said. “Of course, some signs need to be stand-alone, such as a one-way street sign.”
In the end, there will be 18 poles with street signs and stop signs, and eight poles with just street signs.
Installation began last week, from Bennett Street to Ashe Street between Vermont Avenue and Massachusetts Avenue.
“We have received numerous complimentary calls and emails,” White said. “It all looks good.”
McNeill, who was a Town Council member throughout much of the process before being elected mayor last November, said he would like to see the project expanded in the future.
“I’d like to have more feedback from the town’s citizens before proceeding, but it’s all been positive so far. The town looks a whole lot better,” he said. “Our major corridors would be the most logical places to look once we have the funds to expand.”
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at (910) 693-2474 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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