05/23/11 — Seven Springs hopes signs will be returned

View Archive

Seven Springs hopes signs will be returned

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on May 23, 2011 1:46 PM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- A thief last week showed little love to Seven Springs when he stole one of the town's welcome signs along N.C. 55 East.

Several years ago, town matriarch Ola Mae Adams, former owner and operator of Seven Springs Restaurant, decided she wanted to start a Seven Springs Improvement Fund, Mayor Stephen Potter said.

It was an effort, he said, that turned out to be quite popular. And while the 100 biggest donors are listed on a plaque in town hall, much of the money came from smaller donations, including a jar that Mrs. Adams kept up in her restaurant.

"Many, many people contributed," Potter said. "People would put change in, a dollar, 10, whatever. It really did become a community effort."

And with that money, he said, the town purchased new snowflake Christmas decorations and three welcome signs -- one on each side of the town limits on N.C. 55 and one on the other side of the Neuse River bridge. The one that was stolen was on the 5300 block of N.C. 55 East.

At the time -- Potter said he couldn't remember for sure, but thought it was about 2009 -- the signs costs $750 each. Now, however, he anticipates replacing the sign will be more expensive.

"I'm sure they haven't gotten cheaper," he said.

And while they do have the money to replace it, and the town board voted to do so Tuesday, doing so will "largely deplete the fund."

"It hurts to have to spend this money needlessly," he said. "It's just a shame."

The report, filed Tuesday, said the theft was discovered on Monday, and that the last time the sign was known to have been secure was on May 1. However, Potter said, the sign was likely taken sometime last weekend. There are no suspects.

But because it will take some time before it can be replaced, Potter is hopeful that perhaps the sign can be recovered -- or that whoever took it will return it.

"If someone would return it, that would be wonderful. It will take us a while to go through the process of ordering another one and having it made, so there is a window of time if somebody wants to return it. It sure would save us a lot of trouble and headache," he said.