Can’t Find the Street Sign? Look Up.

in Community

high_street_signAnyone want to take a stab and caption this photo? It was a normal day. Tim and I were driving back from showing a home to a client. At the intersection of Hamm and Hyndsver Road, it struck. An alien sign was right here on the outskirts of Martin. Air mail, duck crossing, giants—these thoughts crossed through my confused mind when I saw the street sign.

It is a bit unusual, I’ll admit. Yet, I think it is a creative solution to a nagging problem. As a real estate agent, street signs are important to me when locating homes, especially when I’m out on country roads. You can Map-Quest all you want, but you and your clients sometimes need the name of the street to turn at the right spot.

But there are more important issues. If you are waiting for an ambulance in a dire emergency, it would be nice that the drivers, even the ones from here who know most of the county roads, have a street sign to follow to find your home. There is the somewhat dependable GPS, and I don’t know about you, but I want my ambulance driver to have a street sign instead of relying on that droning voice commanding the driver “to turn right in 50 yards.” In a pinch, give me the sign.

Vandals see it differently. Wait, I don’t think they see it at all. Signs are destroyed and, more often, stolen. It is an expensive problem. Therefore, a “tall” preventative measure was established.

high_street_sign2“It borders on being ridiculous, but you have to almost be ridiculous when people act this way ” said Weakley County Road Supervisor, Kermit Hopper. For years, there has been about $25,000 allocated for sign replacement. “We’ve spent almost every penny every year on vandalism. Very few signs get run over accidentally. Most are torn down,” he said.

Budget cuts have made it harder to keep up with the amount of signs needing replacement. Hopper said the department made adjustments and started putting up the tall signs.

“We have seen signs done this way in other areas,” said Hopper. The 15-foot elevated signs are a little more expensive on the front end and are only being used where signs have been vandalized more than once. There are about 50 of these tall signs scattered around the county. Hopper says the measure has slowed down the destruction and stealing.

I asked Hopper what to do if you come across a stolen sign. He said just return it to the Highway Department, Highway 22 in Dresden, or leave it near the flagpole in front of the building. “We are not looking to prosecute anyone bringing a sign back; however, we will prosecute anyone caught in the act of stealing or destroying a sign,” he said.

My caption to the photo: Look Up! County stands tall in finding a solution to street sign vandalism.

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