“Sign, sign, everywhere a sign” might have been popular song lyrics in the 1970s, but today it indicates the wave of development and growth of Lenoir City.
Over the last few decades, it has been interesting to see the new development on U.S. Highway 321, the redevelopment of our historic downtown and the explosive growth of housing in the city. If you’ve ever visited a city that remains in your mind long after your visit as a “nice area,” I can assure you that it isn’t “nice” by accident.
As I drove by the Food City development the other day, I couldn’t help but notice the construction of what appeared to be another large digital billboard. With road work on U.S. 321 coming to an end, I believe it is time to review and tighten our signage regulations in order to protect our most traveled road. As visitors travel down U.S. 321 on their way to the Great Smoky Mountains, I wonder what their perception of Lenoir City is.
In addition to better signage regulations, I believe we should also consider design regulations for new construction projects along our most traveled corridors. With the removal of all green space along the center of U.S. 321, adding new, brighter, flashing, taller signage is not a move in the right direction for an aesthetically pleasing drive. For a good example of unbridled signage that remains an eyesore to this day, travel down Clinton Highway, Chapman Highway or even parts of Kingston Pike in Knoxville.
It’s much easier and cheaper to correct the course now than to perpetuate bad design and fix it later. Let’s all work together — government, public, developers — to build a system that works for everyone and protects the beauty of Lenoir City.