Signage Being Sought for Town's Historic District

The chairman of the town's historic district commission plans to request funding this week for signs that would mark entrances to the Stratford Center Historic District.

Tom Yemm is "a little chagrined" that the town's historic district -- which he says is about 170 homes deep -- does not have any signage labeling it as such.

The last sign marking an entrance into the Stratford Center Historic District was located at the intersection of Church and Main Street, but was removed a couple years ago due to wear and tear, said Yemm, chairman of Stratford's historic district commission.

"People that live in the historic district already know about it," said Yemm, adding that appropriate signage would benefit the whole town by improving its image. 

And so over the past six months, Yemm has been compiling quotes on what it would cost to make and install one to three signs that would introduce motorists, pedestrians and bikers to the town's notable historic district.

The best deal yet comes from a sign maker in Newtown, Conn., who would charge $500 for a wooden sign and stand ready to be planted in the ground, said Yemm. The chairman plans to share his findings in letter form with Mayor John A. Harkins sometime this week.

"I want to give him a rough idea of what my research has led to," said Yemm.

The letter will also be forwarded to the Town Council and request an amount of funding for the signs, as the historic district commission's annual budget is only $1,000. Yemm said it would be "ideal" if the Town Council appropriated $1,500, which would enable three signs to be positioned in the district. 

The three locations Yemm has in mind are: at the northwest corner of the district at the corner of East Broadway and Main Street; at the southern end where Academy Hill meets Main Street; and at one of three spots at the district's southeast edge, either on the corner of Ferry Boulevard and White Street, Ferry Boulevard and Broad Street, or Elm Street and Stratford Avenue.

Yemm is hopeful that the money could come out of the capital improvement program, although he acknowledged that there are other projects vying for those funds.

"People will recognize their heritage" with these signs in place, said Yemm. The chairman said he remembers a former commissioner, Richard Hershner, telling him that Stratford has more historic homes than any other town in Connecticut. Yemm said neighboring towns that have marked historic districts include Milford, Orange and Trumbull.

And if funding is not granted for all three signs?

"I'd settle for one," said Yemm.

Do you think an investment in signs marking the town's historic district would be beneficial to Stratford? Tell us in the comments section below.

George E. Mulligan August 09, 2011 at 04:49 PM
Why not create economic development opportunities, for people to want to buy things, to pay for Historic District signs? - Is it economic development to continually tap into patrons, sponsors, and governments?
Twoply August 09, 2011 at 05:38 PM
thanks tom
Jim Miron November 03, 2011 at 12:43 PM
PLEASE no commercial advertising on the gateway signs to the Historic District!
Jim Miron November 03, 2011 at 12:44 PM
Great idea. There was such a booklet, published by the first Historic District Commission, that could be updated and republished.
Jim Miron November 03, 2011 at 12:44 PM
George (hold onto your seat) - I agree with you.


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