Makeover slated for welcome signs

Town leaders are concerned that the welcome signs are not aging well, and with how the signs are perceived by the public.

The Louisa Town Council approved a request from its streets and sidewalk committee to give the town’s welcome signs a makeover.

“We have the permission to go ahead,” John Purcell, the committee chairman, said after the May 18 vote. “Everyone’s on board with this change.” Purcell and another councilor, Sylvia Rigsby, are on the committee with former councilor Jim Artz.

There are four welcome signs situated at the entrance points to the town that see the most traffic, including on  Davis Highway and Louisa Road (Route 22), Courthouse Road (Route 208) and Jefferson Highway (Route 33). The signs were donated to the town in the 1990s by Piedmont Metal Fabricators, a company that operates in town.

The signs feature placards of numerous organizations that operate in the county, including the Lions and Rotary clubs, the American Legion, the Louisa NAACP chapter, Louisa County 4-H, and others.

The project to revamp the signs started when members of the town’s economic development authority brought the signs to the committee’s attention, suggesting they needed repair after a few decades of wear, Purcell said. Some of the placards are faded and illegible.

Shortly after, the committee received requests by citizens and groups to both remove and add organization placards.

Louisa United, a new organization in the county, asked to be added to the signs. The group organized a march for racial justice in the town in July 2020. A month later, an anonymous citizen requested that the sign belonging to the Sons of Confederate Veterans for Trevilians Station Camp #1434 be removed. The sign features a Confederate flag symbol.

After receiving these requests, the committee decided that a complete makeover of the sign was overdue.

“If you look at the signs, there’s really not a whole bunch of room left,” Purcell said. “There are a lot more clubs now than there were when the signs were created.”

The goal of the makeover is to make the signs “more unifying and more town-centric,” he said. One idea that was mentioned at the May 18 council meeting is to include a laser cutout of Louisa County with the motto “In the heart of it all” and the emblem of the town.

There are no concrete plans for the signs yet; the committee will discuss further steps at its next meeting. The committee’s meetings are open to the public.

Although nothing is set in stone, Purcell hopes to include the community as much as possible on the project to make the signs more representative of Louisa.

“I don’t want to change these signs without any input from anyone, because that’s not right,” Purcell said. “But I don’t know how I’m going to structure it quite yet.”

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