There’s your sign

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Until a new one arrives, neighborhood provides its own

By Tom Wilmoth

Someone in Cris Tyler’s neighborhood finally decided to take matters into his own hands last week. After several months of not having a street sign, a homemade sign marking the intersection of Laurel and Peaks streets went up.

    “It’s a problem and it seems like a simple fix,” Tyler said while sitting at his porch last week at the corner of the intersection.

    And a permanent sign might soon be on its way.

    For several months the city has been having trouble with street and other signs disappearing. Replacing those signs has taken some time, but City Manager Charles Kolakowski said signs began going up this week.  He  also said the police department continues to try to find out who is stealing the signs, including by using video surveillance.

    “We’re trying everything we can,” he said. “But there are still some being stolen.”

    Just what the signs are being used for is not certain. The probable answer is a little bit of everything. Kolakowski said some of the signs that have been taken down have been found in various spots around the city. Others he suspects have ended up as a souvenir on someone’s wall and some might have even been sold for scrap metal.

    “Probably a combination,” he said of the reason for the thefts. “We don’t think they’re all being stolen by one person or group.”

    He said city crews began putting new signs up on Monday and will be working on it all week.

    That’s none too soon for Tyler and apparently some of his neighbors.

    Tyler said the sign for Laurel Street was taken at least four months ago and the Peaks Street sign was taken later. He said the wooden sign apparently designed by a neighbor went up recently.

    “I have no idea,” Tyler said of why the signs are disappearing. “It might just be a prank.”

    But whatever the reason, he said not having a sign in place could prove to be dangerous if an emergency unit is trying to find a home on a road where a sign is missing.

    Apparently someone else in the neighborhood agreed. “It just appeared,” Tyler said of the make-shift Laurel Street sign. “I noticed it the other day.”

    Eventually, he said, the taxpayers will pay to put up the new signs as well.

    “It doesn’t make any difference if it’s one or 101,” Tyler said of the number of signs that are missing. “It’s still a dangerous thing.”

    This past summer Kolakowski said about 50 signs had been taken over a period of about two months. Each sign costs as much as $90 to replace, not counting the labor involved. Campbell County was among the other area localities that have had an increase in the theft of signs.