Old and new signage growing like mold along once-beautiful Peavine
“The Sage of the South”
Peavine Road, Exit 322 and Fairfield Glade are becoming more famous by the year. Problem is, this fame is from either disgust or from hilarity depending on your point of view. You see, the 6 miles of Peavine from I-40 to Fairfield Glade is such an unbelievably ugly eyesore that visiting folks are simply amazed.
Not only are they amazed but they take this ridiculous story back home with them. The six miles at Exit 322 is becoming so infamous that folks are starting to get off just to do make sure it’s as ugly as they’ve been told. They’re not disappointed. Peavine has the ugliest, oldest, poorly maintained signs in most of rural America.
It is so bad that someone suggested we erect a booth at the entrance to Fairfield Glade to sell tee shirts to prove that the wearer had actually seen this disgrace in person.
Maybe the offended Tennesseans should erect their own sign at the start of the “Ugly 6”. It could go something like this:
”WELCOME TO THE MOST DISGRACEFUL RURAL SIX MILES IN TENNESSSEE”
This mess was made possible because no one in authority in Cumberland County cared enough to stop it or even regulate it. This is the result of years of neglect. Visit again next year, it will be even worse if you can imagine that. Look at it closely (if you can), this could happen to your county if you elect officials that do not take pride in their county.
The number of signs increases yearly but it’s made even worse by the fact that the old 20 year old fossils are still there. Once erected, they’re permanent, they stay there until they molder and rot. Some of those old, gray, decrepit signs were to promote business that haven’t been active in decades. The signs remain. No one in authority cares.
It’s gotten so bad that ol Peavine is running out of room for new signs. If that happens maybe they’ll have to erect them on top of one another. Ooops, wait a minute. They’re already doing that. Sometimes 3 and 4 high.
In time Peavine may look like a tunnel lined by the most garish collections of commercial junk imaginable. Maybe, in time, some enterprising sign entrepreneur will figure out how to install signs over Peavine as well as on both sides.
It will be complete but it will not stop getting uglier. The signs will age, they will look worse on the inevitable march to decay. Ugh!
We hear it said that the widening of Peavine will eliminate the problem. Wrong, it will require that signs be moved from the new right-of-way but guess what? They will apparently reimburse the sign owners to relocate them outside the new right-of-way.
The sign guys know what they’re doing. Word has it they have recently erected new signs located in the new right of way. That way the state will pay them for relocation.
Not only that folks. Who’s to say anyone will enforce the new right-of-way rule. Signs will in all likelyhood start going up smack in the new ROW. State property? Yes. Will they care? Probably not. Not hard to imagine that some folks will get paid for relocation and then not even relocate.
Over the years there have been many efforts to solve this mess. Resident Judy Davis has been at it since 2007. Cathy Tipton has been at it for well over a year. Most of those efforts have recognized the rights of property owners to collect rent from signs on their property. Most of those efforts do not want to eliminate signs they merely want them regulated.
Old signs? Gone. New signs? Attractive, size regulated, all signs to be adequately maintained. Is that too much for our local business community to handle.
Is that too much for our 16 county commissioners to take on? Good grief!
The Davis group, People Against Peavine Advertising (PAPA) has been active since 2007. They have collected thousands of signatures. They have had communication with Governor Bredesan, State legislators, county commissioners and the progress to date is ZERO.
Tipton’s effort is to have Peavine Road designated a Scenic Highway. This has been in process For many months. Petition has been signed by thousands, much has been discussed, no decision. They say maybe after the first of the year. It’s the state that must make this decision. Any bets on what they will decide.
Some sophisticated big city types look down on Tenneessee folks. They see us as country bumpkins or worse. That makes me want to spit red hot nails but dad gum it, sometimes we give ‘em reasons. Peavine was once a beautiful road to travel on. It was a gateway to a popular and attractive destination. No more. Now, it is a testament to neglect and selfishness.
If I were a county or state official I would be incensed that this was allowed to happen. Worse it’s getting worse.
We have 16 county commissioners in Cumberland County. More than twice what most counties our size have.
Wouldn’t you think they could get together to solve this disgrace? It begs the question, why not? We don’t know the answer to that but we can guess. One thing for sure, we can see the result of their inaction and lack of interest every dog gone day.
Another thought, most counties require you to purchase a permit to erect a sign. The bigger the sign the bigger the fee. As part of this system they also require sign owners to maintain what they have.
This is not a new idea. It happens in most counties across America. It is a source of revenue and it allows control of roadway views.
The feeling is that this effort to help rebeautify Peavine Road will not go away. There are some very determined residents that are very, very unhappy.
Their number and their angst is growing.
The Sage of the South is a long time resident from the mountains of East Tennessee near Damascus VA. He currently resides in Cumberland County but may be in Nome, Alaska for several weeks. Comments should be directed to your favorite County Commissioner, your State Representative and the owner of advertising that seems most deserving.