The following is a letter written by Knoxville City Councilman Nick Dellavolpe to Chick-fil-A executives on behalf of his constiuents regarding signage on Broadway in Fountain City…
Mr. Cathy and Mr. Hensley, et al,
This is my second letter to you.
I drove by your Broadway Chick-Fil-A yesterday and saw your new 40 ft. sign recently lifted in place. Good grief! I understand your desire to advertise your wares to the public. Some type of signage is clearly a business necessity. However, I don’t understand your lack of sensitivity to the receiving community, a historic area which celebrates its architecture and beauty, as well as its friendly people. The historic Gibbs Neighborhood is right there. The Fountain City park and duck pond is right there. People on foot gather there to recreate and celebrate their community. A towering chicken sign is not called for in this location. It’s intrusive (in the annoying sense). And the community, your potential customers, have expressed their preference for a more modest, people-sized sign to line its streets. You can help lead the way. So please rethink you original decision.
Knoxville wants to become more like Charlotte, with landscaped streets and attractive buildings. The day of the butler, metal-type building with a yellow arch has passed. The McDonalds across the way probably spent a million dollars last year to re-do its image. Attractive areas are more inviting to visit and stay.
Moreover, Broadway is a busy road and the cars move slowly. This is no high speed, quick pass-by interstate environment. A modest sign is sufficient. Indeed, your Chick-Fil-A building markings tend to advertise the store and its product directly. The sign is an added aid to the traveler. It doesn’t need to be a towering monstrosity.
Please respect Fountain City. There is a genuine sense of community here. Why would you poke those residents in the eye, with your over-big sign, while you are supposedly trying to entice them into your store? Think again: pleasant is good business.
Your reps have previously said that you were building the taller sign because you could under the current law in Knoxville. That is probably correct. But it is hardly an enlightened position. Our antiquated sign law is currently under review by a task force because it needs revision. We desire, as a community, to improve our image and sense of scale on Broadway, as well as along the neighborhood streets.
Why adopt a leadership role here. Chick-Fil-A could set an example for others, instead of exacerbating the mistakes of the past. Chick-Fil-A has recently built 3 stores in west Knoxville using monument signs. Knoxville appreciates that. Why doesn’t the community along Broadway deserve the same consideration?
We ask you to reconsider this sign decision.
We ask you to be a good neighbor.
Nick Della Volpe, 4th District
Knoxville City Council
5216 Crestwood Drive
Knoxville, TN 37914