Signs are like milk. They should go away when outdated. The “Maine’s Prettiest Village” sign on Route 1 and Flood Avenue had a Sheepscot River Race announcement next to it ahead of the July 4 race. After the race, it was still there, for a week, letting motorists know about an event they could not go to.
Not a big deal, by any means. It just looked poor during tourist season, particularly because it was right next to the landmark sign everyone from everywhere sees when heading up the coast. Appearances count, we know that. So even though it was not a town-run race, motorists might think Maine’s Prettiest Village was asleep at the wheel. I asked the rec department’s Bob MacDonald if he knew anything on it. He didn’t, but he didn’t see why the sign would still be up, either. He took it down Tuesday evening.
Now to a sign that, from what I’ve seen, is always up-to-date, the municipal building’s new digital message board on Route 1. It’s been up for months and I continue to hear mixed reviews. Many agree it’s more readable than its predecessor. Beyond that, the opinions diverge. Do the messages rotate too quickly, too slowly, or are they fine? Is it distracting: Are motorists watching the messages instead of the road and the traffic lights? And does digital fit with the village look?
I think the new sign’s time had come. It is doing its job, increasing readability. I have heard of no pileups from it. And it looked absolutely wonderful when it congratulated Wiscasset’s Anna McDougal for her Special Olympics triumphs in Austria in March.
It took me a short time to get used to the new sign. It took me longer to get used to the tall evergreen being gone from the front of the municipal building. Occasionally, I still think of the tree when I pass. The town had its reasons to remove it and a nearby tree. But as with the two schooners no longer fading into Wiscasset Harbor, it’s OK to miss something.
I don’t miss the old sign. If you do, remember it 0nce in a while as one of the pieces of our past, like the evergreen.