Signage requests discussed during work session

Published 6:35 pm Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Two popular spots in the City of LaGrange are currently trying to establish a strong sense of identity through recognizable signage.

During the LaGrange City Council work session on Tuesday, the council discussed signage requests for the Calumet Park neighborhood and Southbend Park. The stated reason behind both requests was to create a sense of identity for the area represented by the signage.

The majority of Southbend Park was built by the Callaway Foundation, and signs with the parks brand were brought before the council for comments and approval during the work session.

“Tripp Penn reached out with the Callaway Foundation and wanted to share with me a rendering of a new brand for Southbend Park,” City Manager Meg Kelsey said. “The foundation has paid for the branding of this, the graphics and will install and pay for the signage.”

The sign’s logo includes a picture of what appears to be one of the rails in the skate plaza section of the park, and the council viewed examples of the logo on park signs and the banners that the city often displays on light poles.

“It gives the park an identity,” Kelsey said. “I like the idea moving forward of giving all our parks a separate identity with signage. It creates a sense of place.”

No one spoke against the park sign and branding, and several city council members asked that Kelsey pass along their thanks to the Callaway Foundation for funding the bulk of the park.

Meanwhile, the Calumet Park community is currently in the process of establishing its own branding and requested the city’s help with installing signs at the entrances to the community and markers on the street signs throughout the neighborhood.

“A couple of years ago, the Calumet community met with the Georgia Conservancy to put together a plan of action to revitalize the neighborhood,” Kelsey said. “[Calumet neighborhood organizer] Dr. [Robert] Tucker just recently reached out to me about a couple of things that are actually included in the plan, and he would like the city’s support to help.”

Kelsey said that while the requests were relatively low-cost requests, she wanted the city council’s input on the proposed signage, which featured leaves from maple trees that are reportedly being planted in the Calumet community.

“The first request is to put marker signs over the street signs, very similar to what we did over on Mona Lane,” Kelsey said. “We gave that a historic designation. So, they would like to Calumet Park over the street signage.”

Kelsey said that the city sign shop could produce the signs, and no one spoke against the neighborhood markers on the street signs.

However, there was some debate on the best way to handle the Calumet community’s other request, which was to update the large metal entrance signs to replicate the sign near Calumet Park.

Council members said could set the tone for requests from other neighborhood groups in the future.

“I agree with Council Member [LeGree] McCamey that [we need to] be prepared because everybody is going to want it,” Council Member Nathan Gaskin said. “Everybody is going to want local signage.”

According to City Planner Leigh Threadgill, other neighborhoods within the city are creating neighborhood organizations, so the city could receive other requests in the future.

Mayor Jim Thornton suggested that the city create a policy regarding how many signs, what types and under what conditions the city would install signs designating neighborhoods.

“My response to that would be that they need to do what the Calumet Village has done — organize,” Thornton said. “It is not just one individual person. They need to actually organize.”

Kelsey said that the sign by the park costs about $1,000, but other sign types were also discussed. Council Member Mark Mitchell asked about a brick sign at the locations, and Council Member Jim Arrington said that a brick sign would probably double the cost of installing the signs.

McCamey questioned the wisdom of installing more signs as the city works to declutter roadside signage in the city.

“We need to take under consideration that we are on one end with decluttering, and we are talking about sticking a sign here, sticking a sign there,” McCamey said.

The council also agreed to have city staff install litter signs requested by the Calumet Park community.

The no littering signs would be made by the city sign shop, so the cost would be negligible. According to Kelsey, the city had already placed more public trash cans in the area to discourage littering.

The LaGrange City Council will meet again on Aug. 27 at 5:30 p.m. at 208 Ridley Avenue.