published Monday, June 17th, 2013

Dayton group wants consistency in street signs

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    Leaning metal poles and the inconsistent lettering, on the downtown street signs along Market Street in Dayton, TN, are on the MainStreet Dayton's design committee agenda. Photo by Kimberly McMillian
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DAYTON, Tenn. — Sixty-five street signs in downtown Dayton will be replaced with ones that are consistent in height and appearance, a MainStreet Dayton spokesman said.

"We're looking at 9-inch or 12-inch signs," said Kerry Nabors, chairman of the group's design committee. Nabors said neighboring Cleveland, Tenn., had done similar updates in its downtown area for consistency.

More than three years ago, MainStreet Dayton received a courthouse revitalization grant of up to $1 million over eight years for renovations downtown.

That grant was awarded because the area is a historical landmark, MainStreet Dayton Executive Director Anna Tromanhauser has said. In 1925, Rhea County biology teacher John Scopes was tried in the county courthouse for teaching the theory of evolution in violation of a state law. The "Monkey Trial" made national headlines.

Previous improvements have included decorative lighting poles, work on the courthouse plaza, wrought-iron benches, brick pavers in crosswalks, landscaping updates along street corners and parking signs throughout the downtown Dayton revitalization zone.

Nabors proposed that the street-sign work be done by the end of the summer. Changes would include centered, larger capital letters on the signs and similar, smaller avenue and street abbreviations on each.

Most Dayton street signs are posted on metal poles that have begun to lean for various reasons.

Nabors said putting street signs on black, fluted poles gives a consistent look and conveys a historical appearance.

Mayor Gary Louallen, who attended the MainStreet Dayton meeting, said he liked the changes downtown.

The state has mandated replacement of traffic stop signs within the next two to five years.

Nabors had quoted an estimate of $3,500 for the courthouse zone's signs, but Louallen said that figure could be lowered by nearly half by using another vendor.

Earlier this year, the board approved Nabors' request for $112,500 for the third phase in the private realm grants. Improvements would include storefront glass and glazing, exterior windows, entrance doors and miscellaneous exterior building rehabilitation.

Kimberly McMillian is based in Rhea County. Contact her at kdj424@bellsouth.net.

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