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Norcross leaders table decision on digital reader board

NORCROSS -- City Councilmen Tuesday voted to table the final decision on the purchase of a digital reader board, with a proposed location at the railroad tracks in the heart of downtown Norcross. Currently, the city's information board is near the same location downtown, and the messages are changed manually by city staff members. With the proposed new board, city informational messages can be changed automatically, saving the city an estimated $2000 - $3000 annually.

City residents and business owners have weighed in on the issue, both supporting and opposing the measure. Councilman Craig Newton said that by far the most common concern he heard from residents is whether a digital sign fits in with the quaint historic character of downtown Norcross.

Other residents have asserted that the sign is a good idea, but that it should be placed in a more heavily traveled area of the city, such as at Holcomb Bridge Road and Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, or at Holcomb Bridge Road and Buford Highway.

Future plans include digital signs at both of those intersections, but councilmen Charlie Riehm and Ross Kaul asserted Tuesday that, since there is already an older sign in downtown, it just makes sense to position the new one in its place.

"It's just a better way to run the ship," Kaul said.

The cost of the digital sign, which will not show flashing or animation if it is placed in the downtown area, is about $22,000. A private donation of $10,000 has already been pledged toward the cost, and the city's Downtown Development Authority has pledged another $6,000.

Councilman Andrew Hixson, who advocates placing the first digital sign at one of the busier intersections, moved Tuesday to table the decision to make the purchase for two months, giving city leaders more time to consider staff recommendations.

Nash presents proclamation to widow

Gwinnett County Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Nash presented a plaque honoring Norcross resident Jim Scarbrough to his widow Martha during Tuesday's city council meeting. Scarbrough was killed in a traffic accident in June near Beaver Ruin Road and Indian Trail Road. The retired EPA engineer was, according to Nash, "a very special person to me. He taught me so much and meant so much to Norcross and to Gwinnett County."

Mayor Bucky Johnson also presented Martha with a plaque in memory of her late husband, saying that, "He was like my wing man."

Scarbrough was a vital asset to the state of Georgia concerning the water disputes between Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

Tuesday's meeting was adjourned in Scarbrough's honor.