TIFTON, GA (WALB) - Tifton city leaders gave the thumbs up for downtown businesses in the historic district to have electronic signs.
Following months of discussion, Tifton City Council voted 3-2 to allow lighted, electronic signs into the historic district.
Tifton Mayor Julie Smith and Councilman Frank Sayles opposed keeping the electronic signs, saying they go against the character of the historic district.
Hot stones chair massages scrolling across Endless Summer Day Spa electronic sign, it's the only one on 2nd Street, for now, in Tifton's downtown historic district.
And before others pop up, Council member Frank Sayles is getting in front of the controversial issue.
"I don't really feel it fits the character of the historic to have graphic display signs in historic district," said Sayles.
Sayles was one of two who voted against keeping electronic signs in his district.
Which isn't a problem right now.
"I don't want us to wake up one morning and to find downtown look like Pottersville in 'It's a Wonderful Life', with all kind of flashing signs on every building," Sayles explained.
Earlier this year, Mayor Smith tasked Sayles to clean up the signage ordinance that allowed electronic signs.
Several commissions, including the Historic Preservation, Planning and Zoning and the state's historic preservation, all said the signs were not appropriate.
But the city council approved the signs.
Vice Mayor Wes Erlers wanted to keep the signs, saying that the Historic Preservation Commission officials explained the signs would not affect the city's historic affiliations.
Now that it has passed, Mayor Julie Smith is making sure it benefits everyone.
"Make sure that we give our businesses the opportunity to show what their business but do it in an appropriate manner," said Smith.
Smith said the signs will help make downtown more attractive.
Right now, electronic signs are allowed in downtown Tifton and in neighborhood commercial areas.
There are requirements on the size of the sign and how fast they can scroll and change. And any new signs would need to be approved by the Historic Preservation Commission.
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