With approximately 550 homes, Poets Square is a midtown neighborhood bordered by Broadway to the south, North Columbus to the west, East Fifth Street to the north and North Swan Road to the east.
The area became a registered neighborhood association in 2002 when led by longtime residents Brian and Katie Hagedon. Neighbors came together to thwart the potential for amplified voices from drive-through orders of a 24-hour or late-night fast food chain that could have backed up to Whitman Street. Their efforts were successful.
Fast-forward a dozen years and the time is right to put Poets Square signs on its boundaries. According to the Tucson Department of Transportation, 25 other neighborhoods have signs.
The transportation department provides guidelines outlining the process. First the sign design must be approved by Traffic Engineering, which then sends a letter to the neighborhood suggesting location of signs.
The neighborhood hires a private qualified sign contractor to manufacture the signs. After sign completion, a representative from Poets Square picks up the signs and delivers them to the transportation department, which delivers them to the city of Tucson Sign Shop for installation.
Although the Poets Square sign design has not been delivered to the transportation department yet, bids have been requested from sign contractors in order to gauge how much fundraising will be required.
Vote for your sign
Residents of Poets Square may vote for their favorite sign at a public meeting next Thursday. The cost to fabricate neighborhood signs plus installation ranges from $2,500 to $3,000.
Fundraising initiatives include a Dine-Out on Aug. 18 in conjunction with Zivaz Mexican Bistro, which will donate 15 percent of dine-in, takeout or catering orders to the neighborhood association when diners present a designated flier to the cashier; a neighborhood yard sale at participating homes on Aug. 23 where participants are asked to donate 25 to 50 percent of their sales to the sign project; and individual donations.
Painting address numbers on curbs is possibly another option for later in the year.
“I find that neighborhoods with signs are easy to identify and to describe,” says Hawaii Radke, Poets Square Neighborhood Association co-chair and real estate agent. “Street signs distinguish neighborhoods and make them stand out.”
With its rectangular geography, streets named after poets (Poe, Whitman, Elmwood, Burns, and Holmes) as well as numbered streets, Poets Square is more than ready for recognition.