The Historic Decatur Association would like the city to help with its plan to add wayfinding signs in the Old Decatur and Albany historic districts.
As a start to a possible five-phase plan, association President Brenda Henson said the group wants the city’s permission and help in putting up four signs this year. The association raised $35,222 from members’ dues.
“We’ve got 100 square blocks and over 700 architectural treasures of the past,” Henson said. “These combined historic districts are the fifth most visited attractions in the city.”
Henson said the association needs the city’s help this year in putting up the signs. They want the city to make sure they’re in the right places in city rights of ways and that they don’t damage utilities.
The signs would help the city financially “with historically accurate and appropriately aesthetic signs that assist visitors in finding these ... nationally recognized historic homes.”
Henson said they’re planning to start with four signs with two each placed at strategic entrances into Old Decatur and Albany. She said they identified possible sign locations in the two districts:
• Albany — The triangle next to St. John’s Episcopal Church on Gordon Drive Southeast; the island at Somerville Road and Gordon Drive Southeast; Sixth Avenue and Gordon Drive Southeast; and East Moulton Street and Sixth Avenue.
• Old Decatur — Walnut Street at Sixth Avenue Northeast, by the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce; Canal and Lee streets; Alabama 20-Canal Street next to Founders Park; Church and Well streets; and a spot near the Cook Museum of Natural Science.
The group has four annual phases planned at an estimated cost of $200,000. Phase 2 will be four additional signs with two in each historic district. Phases 2 through 5 are based on their financial situation at the time.
David Breland, director of historic resources, said there are three nationally recognized historic districts in the city: Albany, Old Decatur and the area in Northwest Decatur called Old Town. It’s also the oldest district.
The homeowners’ associations from Old Decatur and Albany combined in 2016 to become the Historic Decatur Association.
Council President Paige Bibbee said Old Town was invited to join the other two in the city’s historic overlay but declined.
The historic overlay requires homeowners to keep the exterior of their home historically accurate. They must receive permission from the city’s Historic Preservation Committee to make changes to their homes.
Bibbee said the city previously assisted Old Town in putting up wayfinding signs. Old Town paid for the signs.