Bell Tower Square or Courthouse Square?

Courthouse Square or Bell Tower Square? | photo by Sebourn Video Services

Is it the Courthouse Square or the Bell Tower Square that occupies the center of Jefferson’s downtown district?

That’s a question the county supervisors would like to discuss before the city of Jefferson moves forward with wayfinding signage as suggested by a plan spearheaded by Jefferson Matters: Main St.

During city administrator Mike Palmer’s monthly update for the supervisors, county engineer Wade Weiss asked if the council has approved the new Jefferson logo submitted by Jefferson Matters. That logo, featuring a simplified bell tower rising from the top of trees.

Weiss shared conversation he had with Carole Custer, president of the Bell Tower Community Foundation, about whether the county’s logo, which also includes the bell tower, will be updated now that bells hang on the outside of the frame at the top of the tower.

The current logo was developed in 1994 and appears on county trucks, letterhead, and other places.

Weiss said Custer hadn’t mentioned the new city logo in her conversation about the county depiction of the tower.

Proposed wayfinding signage with new logo

Supervisor Pete Bardole had input in the design of the city logo. He said that tower was simplified because in several uses it will be used as a silhouette, and the added detail of the outer bells would make that more difficult.

Board chair John Muir looked through the signage proposal using the new Jefferson logo, and noted that the signs refer to “Bell Tower Square.”

“I think there needs to be a discussion, a big discussion, about Bell Tower Square,” Muir said. “There needs to be a discussion about the names on these signs.”

Muir said that if the name of the Mahanay Memorial Carillon Tower were changed to the Greene County Bell Tower, “I’d still not jump up in the support of that. But I think the part of the significance is recognizing Greene County as opposed to a private citizen,” he said.
“The bell tower sits on the square and the courthouse is a significant facility,” Weiss said. “I think that’s where we need to have the conversation.”

“I feel like we in this building represent the whole county,” Muir said, with supervisor Dawn Rudolph adding that it’s the entire staff, not only elected officials.

“I’d rather have the conversation now than after the signs go up,” Muir said.

A meeting will be called of all interested parties – the county, the city, Greene County Chamber and Tourism, Jefferson Matters, the Bell Tower Community Foundation, and more.
Palmer said the city has not yet moved forward with the signage proposal.

“We all think it’s a good project, but we should all be agreeable on what we’re referencing,” Muir said.

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