New sign toppers will soon make their debut on the streets of Five Points South as part of a pilot program that aims to raise awareness of Birmingham’s local historic districts. Over the course of the Five Points pilot organized by the Five Points Alliance and the City of Birmingham, 22 district signs will be added atop the existing street name signs, starting with signs going up on Cobb Lane by June. More sign toppers will be added in the future based on budget and community interest.
The idea for the signs emerged from a 2017 KPS Group community involvement meeting for the upcoming Five Points South master plan. A group of community members pitched the idea, saying Five Points South is unique because of its three historic districts but you never know when you’re in one.
But no longer! The new sign toppers will allow motorists, cyclists and pedestrians to easily identify whether they’re in the Anderson Place, Cullom Street or Phelan Park local historic district. Two signs will also flank Cobb Lane, which is part of the national Five Points South historic district. The Alliance hopes the signs will instill a deeper sense of connection to the community for Five Points South stakeholders and enhance the sense of pride that comes with living or working in a historic district.
A Kickstarter campaign will soon be launched to raise funds for additional sign toppers and maintenance for lost or damaged toppers. Community interest has been strong each time project leader and sign designer Gary Bostany has presented the project. Bostany designed the historic district signs with a throwback feel – but the best part is the color palette.
“When James [Little, REV’s Five Points South district manager,] first asked me to design the signs, my first thought was the colors. The sign had to be distinguishable and not look like a street sign,” Bostany said. “Birmingham is one of the rarest places on the planet that has all three ingredients within a 75-100 mile radius to make iron and steel: Iron ore, limestone and coal. I picked those colors – black for coal, red for iron ore, and gray/yellow for limestone – all from surrounding mountains.”
Details on the program’s success will be shared with other city neighborhoods to inspire more historic district street sign toppers throughout Birmingham.
Whether it be the caldium of Red Cat Coffeehouse or varied plants outside of Mile End, flowers find cracks in the concrete of downtown Birmingham and add color to a gray landscape.