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Addition to streets is a sign of old times

The Hyde Park neighborhood association raised $15,000 to install old-fashioned street poles and signs at 40 intersections.

By SUSAN THURSTON, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 22, 2002


The drive through historic Hyde Park will get even more scenic with the addition of antique-looking street posts and signs.

[Special to the Times]
Hyde Park is adding old-fashioned street poles and signs at 40 intersections. They will look similar to the one shown here, but will have white lettering on a black background.
The neighborhood association, Hyde Park Preservation Inc., has raised $15,000 to install new street markers at about 40 intersections between Bayshore Boulevard, Rome and Swann avenues. They will replace the plain, standard poles seen throughout the city.

"It adds to the old-fashioned flavor of the neighborhood," said Laura Kipphut, who coordinated the project. "We're hoping other groups will do the same."

The association came up with the idea a decade ago but has had trouble getting the project done. The city has no money for upscale poles, but agreed to put them in when city crews have some extra time.

Kipphut said the city has the poles and plans to install them soon. City officials told members it would happen sometime after the Gasparilla festivities.

"We're hoping to see it start in a few weeks, but we've been thinking that for a while," said Anna Thomas, association president.

The black aluminum poles cost about $400 each. Resident Elizabeth Harrell, who works as a graphic artist, designed the signs. Each will have the street name and block number in white lettering on a black background to increase visibility at night. "Hyde Park Historic District" will go across the top.

The signs will replace several white and green ones the city installed 10 to 12 years ago near Bayshore. Though professionally designed, they never worked well, Kipphut said. People strained to see the lettering and couldn't make out the drawing of the elm tree.

Most intersections will have one new pole. Stop signs, which go on a separate pole, will not be affected.

The 480-home association held a neighborhood fundraiser for the poles about 10 years ago. The rest came from the Hyde Park Garden Club and from proceeds of beer sales at the Old Hyde Park Village Live Music Series.

Kipphut said residents are eager to see the poles installed. Even though many moved in after the project started, they consider it a decorative way to showcase the historic district.

"Hopefully, these will add a lot to the community," she said.

- Susan Thurston can be reached at (813) 226-3394 or thurston@sptimes.com.

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