Johns Creek, Gateway Signs and the Identity Crisis

Only eight people showed up at the public hearing. I’m surprised that they got that many, a typical response from a busy public with no time for such matters. So the city of Johns Creek put out the call to the media. They are requesting feedback on a proposal to add thirteen signs at various points entering the city. The cost? Upwards of $35,000 a piece for the larger designs. You can check them out for yourself here. Don’t worry, they’ve employed the services of consultants, so it can’t be that bad.

Before I weight in on this issue, let me get this out of the way. Politicians in the conservative burbs need to keep this in mind. If you’re pondering whether spending money on a new project is worth it, the answer should be a resounding NO in 99% of all cases. We’re in the midst of a recession and tax receipts are down. If you’re not already convinced that the project is vital, you say no.

So that pretty much let’s the cat out of the bag on how I feel on the issue. Yet what I see underneath all this is really an identity problem for Johns Creek. It goes back to how this city (and Milton) were founded. If there was a legal description of what is in Johns Creek it would be “everything in northeast Fulton County that isn’t already incorporated.” In essence, these cities are the leftover scraps of what Alpharetta and Roswell couldn’t finish consuming in their hungry annexation plans. As a result, there is little to no discernible boundary to these cities. Perhaps Johns Creek is trying to rectify this by putting enormous and expensive stacked stone signs everywhere. There is also a “keeping up with the Joneses” aspect to this. They show a picture of Suwanee’s entrance sign as an example. We can’t be outdone by our sister city across the river!

When I see this issue along with the Johns Creek vanity zip code and the “swoosh” street sign stuff… it seems that this young town is more concerned with their outward appearance and identity. It’s a common character flaw of the young I suppose. They’ll grow out of it.

Wow. It's Quiet Here...

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