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Rejected $35,000 flashy West Towson school sign lingers in limbo

Building MaterialMetal and MineralLocal GovernmentJoe A. Hairston

The fate of the $35,000 flashing electronic sign that once graced the entrance to two schools on North Charles Street remains assured yet even more uncertain.

It is safely stored in one of the Baltimore County Pubic School's warehouses, according to school system spokesman Charles Herndon.

But there is "no timetable" other than "the near future" for Superintendent of Schools Joe Hairston to consider a list of requests for the sign and make a decision, he said in late July.

The 16-foot-high, 6-foot wide sign with separate illuminated panels for each school and 2-foot-high LED strips flashing messages was erected last October at the driveway entrance to West Towson Elementary School and the Ridge Ruxton School in the 6900 block of North Charles Street.

It was paid for with $35,000 from the construction budget for West Towson Elementary.

But residents and County Council members complained it was out of character with the neighborhood and with North Charles Street's designation as a state scenic by-way. It was removed in May.

Last month the school system replaced it with a discreet beige brick sign.

But one man's trash is another man's treasure.

Friends of the Loch Raven Library president John Fiastro had sent a letter this summer to the school board requesting the sign to make the library driveway more visible from Taylor Avenue.

Though the library is cosseted in woods, the driveway is in a commercial area that already has tall electronic signs and no residences.

Hairston's office has written back that several groups have requested the sign and that the request would be among those considered.

But Herndon said last month that a complete list of requests had yet to be compiled.

The reply to Fiastro's letter was in reality authored by the Physical Facilties office, which was still working on the list of schools and non-school facilities requesting the sign for Hairston to consider, Herndon said. School system requests probably would be given preference, he said.

He declined to provide any of the names on the list "until Dr. Hairston gets a chance to look at it."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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Building MaterialMetal and MineralLocal GovernmentJoe A. Hairston
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