City removes several new park signs

December 31, 2009

By Tim Pfarr

Not long after installing them, city officials removed five signs from near Windtree Park and one sign from Highlands Park.

Parks Program Manager Michael Holly said the signs were removed because they were too big and their placement resulted in traffic visibility problems.The Windtree Park signs were used to direct traffic toward Windtree Park and the Highlands Park sign was used to direct traffic toward Forest View Park. These were installed as part of a project that brought 41 new parks signs to the city in November.

Two signs were removed days after the installation, and the remaining signs were taken down in early December.

“We’re looking at possibly resizing the signs or possibly going in a different direction,” Holly said.

Holly said resizing the signs would involve making them significantly smaller. He said city officials are now working to decide how they wish to direct traffic to the smaller, neighborhood parks.

The Windtree Park’s signs removal came in the wake of complaints from multiple residents about the new signs.

“The signs have exposed edges that are only one-eighth-inch thick, with corners placed right at toddler eye level,” resident Eric Adamson said in a letter to Newcastle’s City Council and Parks Commission.

“Worse still, two are placed right next to the play equipment. The other is six inches off the trail, where kids race by on skate boards, roller blades and bikes,” he said. “It defies imagination how these got installed and no one thought this was a really bad idea.”

Resident Tinu Singh wrote a letter to the City Council as well.

“They don’t blend in with the neighborhood and look very out of place,” Singh said. “My recommendation will be use of smaller signs if possible.”

In November, new signs were installed in Lake Boren, Donegal, China Creek, Highlands and Windtree parks.

Windtree Park previously had no signs, but it now has an identification sign, a parks rules sign, a playground rules sign and a trails sign.

The city contracted with NBBJ, an architecture and design firm, to design the signs. The sign and display company Trade Marx installed the signs.

In 2009, the city spent about $48,000 on the park signs; that money funded the design and installation of the signs, and staff costs associated with the project. The money for the projects came from the parks fund.

Holly said city officials hope to install signs in its remaining parks this year.

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