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Posted by on July 12, 2012.

City signage plan gets cold response

Few have been pleased with the proposed city signage.

City officials have released a family of sign designs, kicking off a period for public feedback on the proposed design family.

The designs, developed for the city by Canonsburg, Pa.-based Kerestes-Martin Associates Inc., predominantly feature variations on the blue-and-green theme and the asterisk that are a familiar look in Dunwoody’s branding, with some utilizing a contrasting orange and silver theme. The designs are for proposed gateway, directional and park/facility signs.

The designs met with immediate criticism.

Resident Bill Robinson was just one voice at the meeting who found the signs, some of which are as tall as 12 feet in height, too ostentatious.

“If I lived in Las Vegas, or if I lived in Miami, it would be an absolutely gorgeous sign I guess,” Robinson told the council. “It’s a little bit out of touch with what I think of as Dunwoody, which has very traditional architecture and is a very conservative community.”

Others expressed concerns about whether including the city asterisk and nontraditional colors on street signs would conform with safety standards for traffic control devices. Some asked about the possibility of including a physical address for parks.

Dunwoody plans to install the signs at eight city parks by the end of the year at a cost of $41,600. That is in addition to $39,247 spent on the design and engineering of the plan. The parks, with the exception of a currently proposed Perimeter Center East Park, have been identified by temporary signage since their acquisition by the city in 2010.

If approved, signs will be installed in coming years, eventually creating a uniform look that will greet residents and visitors upon entrance to the city, guide them to popular destinations, and identify landmarks and street names.

If the reaction by council members and residents at the July 9 City Council meeting is any indication, substantial changes will be needed for the signage plan to gain public support.

Sam Portis, speaking on behalf of the Dunwoody Preservation Trust, told the council that he had been contacted by numerous residents about the signs in the short time since they were made available to the public.

“People are very upset about these signs, especially at the Donaldson-Bannister house,” Portis said. “One of the reasons is it doesn’t really look historic. I think it’s out of place for the Donaldson-Bannister house.”

Edie Damann, marketing and public relations manager for the city, presented the designs to the council. She said the current design was developed with the goal of creating a uniform look for the signage, with consideration toward the city’s branding efforts.

“We want to make sure that our branding is included throughout the signage,” Damann told council members.

While council members noted that the public would have the opportunity to provide feedback before any design was agreed upon, Councilmember Lynn Deutsch stressed the importance of taking public feedback on the entire family of designs, and not just the public park signs planned for installation this year.

“Once we commit to doing the park signs, we’re locked into a design,” Deutsch said.

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