Members of a downtown review committee decided Thursday to end an issue which divided them — placement of a proposed “gateway” sign on Main Street.
The group revisited a Nov. 5 decision to place the sign at the intersection of N. Main and Second streets after committee members were concerned that committee member Virgie Brassfield’s vote was not recorded accurately in the minutes.
Brassfield, whose vote was recorded in support of the placement, said she had abstained.
While the change in the official vote would not change the outcome, committee members wanted to make sure every member had a chance to voice an opinion on the placement of the sign and have their vote properly recorded.
Only the committee’s chairwoman voted against the proposed location when the group voted in November.
Fay Culver favors a location closer to the railroad tracks that cross N. Main Street about two blocks further north near the original boundaries of the city.
On Thursday, committee member Shannon Duhon moved to rescind the November vote. The motion was seconded and approved.
Member Barbara Smith followed with a motion to place the sign at the intersection of N. Main and Second streets, but with a setback up to 45 feet from the north side of Second street.
The committee responded in unanimous vote of approval.
The vote followed a request by Duhon that the group make a final decision on the matter — even if the decision was to scrap the project.
“We need to stop dragging this thing out,” Duhon said. “We are not going to reach an agreement that makes everyone happy — that just isn’t going to happen. But we have spent too much time on this issue.”
Duhon’s sentiments were echoed by local citizen and downtown business owner Chuck Neal who said that there are more important issues at hand to be addressed downtown.
The risk of contention and divisiveness was not worth drawing out the debate, Neal said.
Larry Eller, City of Miami Community Development Director, will now take the recommendation back to the city council.
“Thank you,” Eller said. “It is a start … a good step and a visionl.”
In another matter regarding the sign, the committee set an agenda item for the next meeting to discuss the design of the sign.
The group will discuss changing the sign to read “A Gateway City.”
The sign replicates a sign that simply said “Gateway, Miami, Okla.” and sat near the Miami train station. It served as a welcoming “gateway” entrance for travelers.
Miami is now considered a “gateway city” for travelers of Route 66. In an attempt to avoid confusion, the committee members will discuss the matter further at their next meeting.