All too often, visitors and citizens wonder where exactly Greensboro’s historic neighborhoods are located. There are, after all, no lines on the ground to delineate the boundaries of the community.
However, now the curious need only look to look up.
Last autumn, the Fisher Park neighborhood requested a pilot partnership with the City of Greensboro to place sign toppers atop their street signs in order to identifying their neighborhood. The proposal was accepted by the city staff on the condition that the neighborhood cover the costs of sign fabrication and installation. The Fisher Park Neighborhood Association organized a fund drive to pay for the $75 per-sign cost. Twenty sign toppers were purchased and installed across the neighborhood in the late spring. The toppers have been placed at key intersections, boundaries, and favorite street corners and identify the borders of the Fisher Park neighborhood, not the Fisher Park Historic District.
Though sign toppers are new to Greensboro, they are common in other major American cities as diverse as New York City, Portland,and Dallas. Their advocates (including Preservation Greensboro!) say they build community identity and pride, cultivate an awareness of the importance of history and preservation, and are a gentle reminder of the diversity of neighborhoods in each city.
The pilot program is currently being evaluated by various city departments in order to determine future policy, sign applications, and placement and financing procedures. A few additional neighborhoods have already shown an interest in the toppers.
Perhaps additional sign toppers will appear throughout Greensboro’s other two historic districts as a tool to identify these neighborhoods. The city is rich in neighborhoods, and this flagship program is being carefully studied for future applications.
In the meantime, at least in one Gate City neighborhood, history is indeed looking up.