Possible LED sign causing controversy in Chester

By Melissa Correa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – Just the idea of an electronic sign is pushing Chester residents to take sides. Tonight, a development group is holding a public forum to discuss potentially installing a LED sign. The latest possible location for the LED signage is in the Village of Chester off Route 10 between Harrowgate and Chester Roads.

Sean Eichart and his real estate group have a lot riding on the apartments and businesses in Chester Village Green. For the last few years, he's been working to bring people in without the help of any permanent signage. An LED would change that.

"It would not be any kind of swirling or bursts of light or anything like that," said Sean Eichart with Plus Management.

The 6x10 foot electronic sign would go on Route 10, standing 21 feet above traffic. Sean's in support of the Emerson Group which developed the area and is pushing for the sign, but not everyone is.

"We have gotten mixed results, mixed feedback from the community. And we're just trying to nail down what the biggest opposition is," Eichart said.

Opponents say the sign will ruin the historic, traditional image of Chester. They contend it's a traffic hazard, and with so many flashing advertisements, people will miss the message. Community organizations are writing letters against it, even going as far as drawing up alternatives.

Resident Carol Ray says if a sign is needed- why not go with something made out of brick where the message is stationary. After a year of nothing, Brooke Newman with Howlett's Tavern will take anything.

"We do advertising in the different community shoppers, but we don't have anywhere saying exactly where we are," said Newman.

The Emerson Group has yet to file the proposal with Chesterfield County. It's worked on the idea for three years, but its attorney says nothing is final.

"We're just trying to weigh all that out and make sure it's something we all can be proud of," Eichart said.

Tonight, the Emerson Group will hold another meeting tonight with residents and businesses to weigh their concerns. That community meeting starts at 7 p.m. at Chester Middle School.

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