AT&T seeks OK for new sign on Cherry Street building|[04/16/08]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 16, 2008

An “AT&T Mississippi” sign in front of a Cherry Street building so it can signify a planned presence in the local cable television market is OK with some members of the Vicksburg Architectural Review Board.

Though no quorum was present, thus preventing a formal vote on the matter, four members of the oversight panel took into account differences between the aesthetics of Washington Street versus Cherry.

“Washington Street is one thing, where you have all those buildings close together,” chairman Toni Lanford said. “(AT&T’s sign) will look like it’s part of the wall.”

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Other voting members present were Troy Weeks, Dorwin Shields and Blake Teller. Five members of the nine-member panel were said to be either out of town or in meetings at their respective workplaces.

Much like the sign placed in front of the former Cingular Wireless building on Pemberton Boulevard upon that company’s acquisition by AT&T Mobility, the sign will be an acrylic, 3 feet-by-6 feet sign featuring the company’s logo. It will be placed on the former BellSouth building at 1515 Cherry St., still owned by the telephone company, but not in public use for many years.

Since Cherry Street runs through the middle of the city’s historic district, approval of the sign is necessary. Signs inside the district — bounded by First North Street and the Mississippi River on the east and west and First East and Depot streets on the north and south — are limited to 6 square feet by Historic Vicksburg Design Review Guidelines.

At current specifications, the sign would be 29.75 square feet — about 10 percent of the facade.

“We have allowed greater than 6 square feet outside Washington Street before,” said Paula Wright of the city’s Community Planning Department.

Last week, AT&T officials met with city board members about plans to offer Internet protocol-based video service to customers in Vicksburg. Unlike traditional wired cable, Internet-based video is often provided in conjunction with video-on-demand and phone services.

No timetable for the beginning of service has been given by company officials, who signed agreements with Vicksburg and Jackson in an effort to build the service statewide.

As for approving the sign, discussion was generally favorable. The most recent issue involving signs was one for the Vicksburg Convention Center, one that exceeded height and size requirements for structures inside the historic district. The board declined the request but the Board of Mayor and Aldermen overturned it, saying the sign was necessary to advertise events at the facility.