Board defers action on signage for tourism

Published 11:16 am Saturday, December 23, 2017

On Monday, the Southampton County Board of Supervisors deferred action to provide money for signs advertising an Indian tribe’s participation in a regional tourism project. This came after discussion of old business during the board’s monthly meeting.

In November, Chief Walt “Red Hawk” Brown of the Chereonhaka Indians had informed the supervisors that his tribe’s property on Old Bridge Road was chosen to participate in the American Evolution Digital Trail project. That’s part of a tourism initiative for the 2019 Commemoration, which will recognize the 400th anniversary of the establishment of the first permanent English colony in North American and first official Thanksgiving at Berkeley Plantation.

The tribe’s own Heritage Foundation put in an application for two directional signs to the tribal property. Brown had asked for the board to consider paying the initial cost connected to the making and installation of two signs.

Under Virginia Department of Transportation’s Integrated Directional Sign Program, these signs are estimated to cost $17,000, which gave the supervisors pause. So, they asked Randolph Cook to speak with his contacts in VDOT to explain the expense.

As the supervisor learned, any such signage can’t be installed until the new Courtland Interchange has been significantly completed next summer. Further, there’s a question of whether the agency will even allow a sign 15.5 feet wide to be put on the road shoulder.

“VDOT’s not going to make any decisions until that time,” said Cook, who recommended the deferment. At the same time, research could be done to determine if the proposed signs could be downsized in order to meet the agency’s requirements, as well as getting a lower price.