Neighborhood Sign Goes Missing on the Pike

by ARLnow.com April 19, 2011 at 2:59 pm 5,072 50 Comments

A granite sign, recently installed along Columbia Pike, has gone missing.

The sign announced to folks heading westbound on the Pike that they were entering the Columbia Heights neighborhood. It was installed several months after the County Board approved a $12,500 neighborhood sign project for Columbia Heights.

Christine Nixon, chief of the county’s Neighborhood Services Division, says the sign itself cost about $900.

“They don’t disappear very often because they’re very heavy,” she said. “We do have a fund that we use to replace signs — more often then being stolen they get run into by very, very impaired drivers — so [the department] will be ordering a new one shortly. If the missing one turns up later we will keep it in storage for eventual use.”

Nixon added: “It is frustrating to have County property stolen, particularly since the design and siting process is something that volunteers spend a lot of time on.”

Photos of the sign from two weeks ago are shown below. At the time, we took note of the fact that the aesthetics of the newly-installed sign, when viewed from behind, were a bit lacking.

  • With the integrated studs on the back of the granite, it could be fashioned very easily into a nice table for a dorm room somewhere.

    • Skeptical

      “Integrated studs” sounds like some sort of multiracial porn feature.

  • Alex

    How can a sign project cost $12,500? Sounds very inefficient.

    • ConstantCritic

      The County did WHAT???

  • Lou

    Looks like the work of the Wrong Side of the Road Sign Vigilante.

  • Scott

    “more often *than”

    • Maria

      Ah, strangely I didn’t catch that mistake, but I did wonder why it took me 5 tries to figure out what a pretty simple sentence was saying.

  • Chris

    I think Arlington SWAT should toss every house in Lyon Village just to make sure this isn’t their fault too.

  • Cakes

    That’s my hood. Too bad. Seems quite odd.


    Some knucklehead frat brother has it in their basement as stolen loot? FREDTERP

  • G. Clifford Prout

    Columbia Heights. “Not totally thug free since 2011”

    • HopHop

      Excellent! Maybe we should spend $12,500 on crime prevention instead.

  • Rosslynite

    Some misguided county worker no doubt moved it over to the Artisphere after the 22 page county study recommended that the Artisphere have more sinage.

    • Rosslynite


      • Skeptical

        What about silage?

  • Rosslynite

    If the project cost $12,500 and the sign itself cost $900, does that mean that the metal post in the shape of an “F” costs $11,600? Where did all this money go?

    • Michael H.

      Maybe some labor costs, installation equipment costs, and replacement signs.

      As for the back of the sign, can’t they just paint it to match the color of the metal post? That would take someone a minute or two at minimal cost.

    • Michael H.

      There may also be other signs in the neighborhood.

    • The projects usually involve 3-4 signs and significant community input, I’m told.

    • Lou

      Here’s your sign.

    • Arlwhenever

      They have to pay one of the architects who contributes to the ACDC and the political campaigns of elected County officials good money to design the darn things.

      • John Snyder

        Why don’t you back off of the slander of county staff, architects and county officials until you develop the integrity to use your name?

    • Aaron

      22-page studies to determine that the sign goes on the signpost don’t write themselves you know.

    • OX4

      It sure didn’t go towards a backside, that’s for sure.

  • BoringDan

    Why was it on the wrong side of the road? I live in that neighborhood and never noticed it.

  • KalashniKEV

    It seemed odd to have those 2 perfect pics of just the sign pre-theft… then I found out it was $12,500!!! I’ll bet they came from the contractor himself- “look at what I got paid $12K to design, cut, and install.” hahahaha

    • Maria

      No, you found out that sign was $900 and that the whole sign *project* was $12,500. “Sign project” = more than one sign.

      • KalashniKEV

        No, I believe you’re mistaken… I didn’t even follow the link when I originally posted, but the $12.5K is for “Columbia Heights — $12,500 to help community locate, design, build and install neighborhood sign.” One sign. The physical sign itself cost $900.

        • Maria

          Hmm, good point. I based what I said off this comment:

          April 19, 2011 at 3:45 pm

          The projects usually involve 3-4 signs and significant community input, I’m told.”

          I’d be curious to know all the details.

          • Maria

            Though for the record, even 3 – 4 signs at $900 each doesn’t even come close to $12500, so it still seems ridiculous that it would cost that much for the other elements of the project (design, finding location, etc.).

          • AVer

            True, it does seem a bit pricey, but I think it’s only fair that Columbia Heights gets to have a few signs too. Whenever I would pass by the signs for Lyon Village while looking for parking on the weekends, I would wonder why we didn’t have them.

    • John Snyder

      You don’t understand the difference between a budget and a cost. The $12,500 is a standard budget for Neighborhood Conservation sign projects. There are typically four signs. That is a budget amount, covering the sign, the post, the installation, the design and the staff time working with the neighborhood on design and location, for four signs. $12,500 is not the cost of one sign. The amount that is not spent does not “go” anywhere. It stays in the county accounts. No scandal here, except for the jerk who took the sign.

      • metro

        It’s still hilarious/depressing that it costs $12,500 to install $3600 in extremely overpriced signs.

        • CW2

          You hit the nail on the head with that comment.

  • Matt

    Maybe it’s just me but that looks like a pretty cheap looking sign. I would think for $12k the county could produce something that doesn’t look like it could blow over in a windstorm.

  • SoCo Resident

    I can see the slots in the pictures. There are ways to secure these against theft. But, why a costly material such as granite?

  • wava_2

    I always thought that neighborhood was Arlington View. Is Columbia Heights the new neighborhood name?

    • SamsontheCat

      Maybe someone else thought the same thing and moved the sign thinking they were correcting the mistake.

  • CW

    This is why we can’t have nice things!!!

  • I obviously missed the meeting to vote on the community name. What an atrocious name for a quaint neighborhood. I strongly suggest we revisit this and have a naming convention.

    • C-Dids

      I agree. It’s not even original. I guess they decided Dupont Circle was too played out. Me thinks the criminal in question did us a favor.

    • wava_2

      Back when the county was Alexandria County, that stretch of Columbia Pike was called Arlington. The Arlington community stretched along Columbia Pike west, to just beyond Glebe Road. Arlington should be in any new name for that neighborhood, for the sake of history, at least. Good riddance to that sign.

    • What’s in a name?

      I believe it has been Columbia Heights for awhile. Probably something to do with its proximity to Columbia Pike… And the sign is on that side of the pike because Penrose is on the other side.

  • April

    I am tired of all the extravagant spending.

    • Dan


  • Blur

    You can dress up a turd but it is still a turd.
    What a slum.

  • The Pikester

    Another fine example of waste in our county. I’m all for beautifying the Pike, but to pay that much for a sign is nuts.

  • KalashniKEV

    Someone in the neighborhood can provide the facts, but I really think we’re talking about just ONE sign here… the 3-4 number more than likely came from a beneficiary of the scam (government). Are there 3 more of those around?

  • SomeFolks

    Somefolks dont know Jack….and have the facts all wrong….4 signs yes, made of granite…(NO)… Installed in the correct location for the correct Neighbothood (yes). If reinstalled, it will most likely be taken out by one of those drunk Columbia Pike Folks (YES)


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