My thoughts on signs

By R. Marc | Nov 17, 2012

I was reading the Curmudgeon Times the other day and came across this in the editorials:

Dear Editor:

The gateway to Camden is littered with debris from an influx of overzealous citizens who think it is necessary to treat residents and visitors alike as if they are kids on a field trip. This is not Disneyland (yet). But it might be becoming Dizzyland. The signs of it are everywhere. There ought to be a law against this sort of thing. "Camden, take down your signs"!

Well, I beg to differ. The signs have only served to enhance and elucidate, and we could use some more. For example, I was informed recently, that the gateway to Camden was Route 1, also known as Atlantic Highway. It becomes Elm Street when you get closer to town, and then it becomes Main Street in the heart of downtown. This is confusing, and each section should be clearly labeled.

There is another gateway, one shared by Camden and Rockport. It is well maintained by the Garden Club, with flowers on either side of the entrance. It was actually renovated just a few years ago, with the financial blessings from both towns; one of the least contested endowments in bi-coastal history. The Gateway Monolith is situated next to the EBS parking lot. Where is EBS? Well, that's the problem. We need a sign so people can find it.

Rockport has its own gateway too. The Dept. Of Improvements has identified it as a MAJOR GATEWAY TO THE TOWN OF ROCKPORT. But there are no signs up there either. You have probably driven past it many times on your way to doing your daily things and not even noticed it. It is located at the old RES site. Again, not everyone know where the old RES site is. We need to put a sign up there so people will know when they are passing through it.

Actually, it's really the Gateway to Rockport Village to be exact. Don't know where the village is? The village is what used to be the downtown area. Back in the day, it was a place where people went for supplies, like food, maybe paid their ice bill. Since then, enterprises have come and gone; occasional high end antique shop and/or struggling cafe type places. Then it pretty much sat vacant, a ghost town if you will, overlooking the peaceful Rockport Harbor.

Fortunately, that is changing. Higher end, high-end shops have been filling those vacant spaces in anticipation of the future Gateway Development Project which is sure to bring more visitors the harbor area. Don't tell me you don't know where Rockport Harbor is? Well, it's easy to confuse Rockport harbor with Rockland harbor. I myself have given directions more than once to some poor lost souls looking for either piece of coast. We need a sign and some arrows to point the way.

There is a rumor going around that "the village people" don't like the tourists stomping around their harbor, or worse, their quiet hamlet. I don't blame them. But I don't know why...You don't know who the village people are??? That's easy. The village people are the residents who live East of the Big Highway which separates them from the rest of the townfolk. (Camden has village people too.) The Rockport village people would probably like a sign of their own - a detour around their franchise. Hopefully, signs will be strategically placed to guide visitors through the gateway, around the village, and then to the harbor. Hopefully, this will keep them on course and off the village turf.

The sign committee has done a very good job of labeling all things harbor, and once the tourists find the water (there's a sign for that), they will have no problem getting around. Paths have been created and they are all labeled to get you where you want to go. You can't get lost; trees have been cleared away so you have a clear view in all directions. There are a few undisturbed spaces left that are still a bit scruffy around the edges. They are clearly labeled with "THIS IS A DRUG FREE ZONE." So if you decide to venture forth, at least you ill be forewarned of possible druggies hiding in the bushes. Better safe than sorry. Parking for the fisherman, and for the Yacht Club members, have been clearly labeled, so those folks won't lose their much needed spaces. During the tourist season, the remaining public parking spaces fill up fast. Fortunately, the rest of us who live here, know where the secret parking spots exist in the area, and we like to walk, so that shouldn't be a problem.

Another thoughtful touch — signs on several pier's posts: "Life Jackets Save Lives." You can never be too careful. Even standing near the edge of the water to read the sign can be dangerous. There should probably be a sign for that too.

I've been seeing more garbage on the beach this year and it didn't wash up onshore. Cigarette butts stuck in the sand and an empty soda bottle standing upright on a boulder, beyond the tide line. Please, sign committee — up with the littering signs and make the fine a big one. Keep the litter bugs at bay. A "Smoke Free Zone" sign would also be a welcoming sight.

A few summers ago, there was request by an entrepreneur for a hot dog concession stand at the harbor. It was voted down at the time — somewhat short-sighted I would say. Rockland has a huge sign of top of their premier art museum that reads EATS in neon lights. Now why can't we do something like that? The neon's a little tacky for our natural wilderness, but maybe something a little less formidable would work.

With everything properly labeled, there just might be enough people who could find the harbor and enjoy a picnic. The revenue generated could more than support the cost of all the signs we need. A win-win situation.

Last but not least - the signs on Route 1 - Atlantic - Elm - Main Street are getting over crowded. In the summer you can't see the signs for the trees. I am especially concerned about Camden's signature sign; the Arbor Day Foundation Society seal of approval, designating Camden "Tree City U.S.A." There are some trees that if removed, will enable all these signs to be spread out and be more readable. There are several worthwhile patches of trees that the DPW could easily remove. Now don't tell me you don't know where the trees are. They're all over the place aren't they?


R. Marc


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