Usually I shun the word "abomination." Sounds too Old Testament'y. As in fornication outside of wedlock is an abomination.
Not true. But here's a genuine abomination: the Ross Dress for Less sign that was recently installed on Salem Center brickwork.
Walking up Liberty Street, this is the garish sight that meets your eyes as you reach Center Street. A disgusting large white sign that is way larger than the moderately attractive Salem Center sign above it. The sign clashes with everything around it. Including the red brickwork.
This is exactly what downtown Salem does not need.
The sign is totally at odds with efforts to make the downtown area more inviting, cool, artistic, pedestrian and browsing friendly. This tacky Ross Dress for Less sign would be an eyesore at a tacky strip mall, but at least the two forms of tackiness would harmonize in their communal bad taste.
Salem Center, though, made a valiant effort -- largely successful -- to reflect the charming old brick buildings that still grace downtown Salem. Now the ugly Ross Dress for Less sign dominates the pivotal Center/Liberty landscape, screaming "welcome to a plastic tasteless downtown."
Which most of downtown isn't.
I'm writing this blog post rant a few blocks away, at The Beanery coffeehouse. Yes, I look out the front window and see "Starbucks Coffee" in white letters across the street. However, the Starbucks sign is hugely less obtrusive than the Ross Dress for Less sign.
Here's my vow, Ross Dress for Less: I will never, ever set foot in your store until that sign is replaced with a much more attractive one.
Now I probably would never have shopped there anyway, because I'm not into that style of clothing, but I'm pretty confident that the sign is going to lead other people to shun Ross Dress for Less who really would have bought stuff there.
Why on earth did the city of Salem Sign Code allow such a garish and ugly (as well as oversized and cheap-looking) sign to appear on the otherwise tasteful brick facade of the Salem Center mall?
Hopefully, their foolish lack of judgment can be re-thought and corrected.
This is the most important entrance to our downtown from the west.
Susan Trueblood Stuart, Salem
The Ross sign, so apply described by Susan Trueblood Stuart in her Feb. 13 letter, is indeed garish and an insult to the mall and to the city.It’s interesting to note that what stimulated a need for a sign code many years ago was the garish display of overwhelming, tasteless business signs and billboards that greeted everyone driving off the Marion Street Bridge.
Have we come a “full circle” of indifference for some sense of aesthetic value for signage and enforcement of the codes? Business signs are getting larger and more demanding; huge billboards are allowed to identify the adjacent business, and we can’t ignore those billboards whose brightly colored messages change every few seconds.
Let’s not “sign off” on Salem yet, but we could have dignified, well-designed signs that identify and inform, not distract and demand attention.
Keith Chrisman, Salem
The city of Salem has spent money on making downtown Salem more inviting and then they go and allow the large, horrific sign to be placed on Salem Center.
How could this have gone through proper channels and still be allowed?
The sign needs to be changed.
Diane Plummer, Salem