Political signs will remain along Azalea Trail - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Political signs will remain along Azalea Trail

TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

The Azalea and Spring Flower Trail is in full bloom - and the political signs are out with the flowers.

Last year, trail homeowners were asked to take their signs down when the trail was open.
But the Tyler Chamber of Commerce doesn't plan to make that request of homeowners this year.

The azalea trail this year is full of beautiful flowers, lots of visitors, and every so often, a blue and white political sign.

But the trail last year was political signs galore. So much so that the Chamber of Commerce made a pre-emptive call, asking residents along the trail to remove their political signs for those three weeks.

"We felt like at that time, it was the right thing to do, and we had a positive reinforcement, not only from the gardeners but from the people who were the candidates," said Shari Rickman, the General Manager for the Tyler Convention and Visitors Bureau. "They understood that people were coming in from out of town and that they were coming in to see the gardens, not our sheriff's race."

The Convention and Visitors Bureau said that asking residents last year to remove their political signs along the trail really was the exception to the rule. They say in the 54-year history of the Azalea and Spring Flower Trail, they've only asked residents to remove those political signs twice.

The Visitor's Bureau says the signs haven't been an issue this year, possibly because of their size and how they're spaced out.

"The signs are not as many," Rickman said. "And there is a sign out there that says, "It's time." And the questions that we're getting are not really complaints as to what is that?"

Trail homeowner Paula Breedlove says she and her husband wouldn't be happy if they were asked to remove their sign.

"We thought that putting it up here in this location would be a great way to make other people aware and maybe start asking questions," said Breedlove. "What does this sign mean? We've had several people ask us, what does "It's time" mean?"

People like first-time trail visitor Melinda Spears of Texarkana.

"I wonder what it is. I wonder what time it is!" she said, laughing, when asked about her reaction to the signs.

"If it did rise to the level that, you know, the visitor was feeling like they were not getting the full experience that they would have because of the signs that were sitting in the yards, we would address it," Rickman said, noting that the Convention and Visitors Bureau would work hard to make the trail more appealing for the thousands of visitors each year.

The Azalea Trail will be open through April 7.

Copyright 2013 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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