East Town residents are renewing their neighborhood's landscape to make it look like the days of old.
East Town -- a downtown historic district that bills itself as Rock Hill's first neighborhood -- has put up new black street signs designed to be in keeping with its historic character.
"You can almost consider this neighborhood like a phoenix: rising from the ashes," said John Misskelley, president of the East Town Neighborhood Association.
Working with the city of Rock Hill, the neighborhood, which became a historic district in 1987, put up the signs to set it apart from other neighborhoods. "That's why we wanted to do the historic style signature," Misskelley said.
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The goal is to bring new people to live there, said Misskelley, who moved to an 1880s home in East Town in 1996. "We are going to be the place to be," he said.
Eleven new street signs have been put up since February, on Reid, North Confederate, Spruce, Black, White and Main streets. Twelve more will be placed by the end of July on Gladstone, Orange, Jones, Main and White streets.
The project is a neighborhood initiative, said Terry Windell, the city's neighborhood empowerment coordinator. "It's not a give-away program," Windell said. "It's cooperative program. It's wonderful to have a neighborhood such as East Town where the residents care about what is going on."
The city bought the first round of sign poles and street signs. The neighborhood recycled old ones to save money. They negotiated with VWT, a local company, to make brackets with scroll work at a lower cost than the city could buy them.
People from East Town helped by cleaning signs, painting the poles, scrolls and brackets black and assembling everything. The city's street division put up the signs.
William Aiton, a designer who has lived in East Town since 2001, helped with the project. "It brings the neighborhood together," he said. "It brings pride. We can't wait for the next project."
Aiton is proud of the neighborhood. "We want to be the first neighborhood in everything," he said. "It's the first neighborhood. It's a great neighborhood."