WELLSBURG - Brooke County Sheriff Richard Ferguson has been kidded for his fondness of signs.
Shortly after being elected to office, he saw that signs were posted near the Brooke County Courthouse's main entrance, in the elevator to advise visitors of the floor on which various departments are located, and in the hallways to direct them to the offices they seek.
In recent months he has hired part-time workers to post street signs for previously unmarked roads and lanes in many unincorporated areas of the county.
HERE’S?YOUR?SIGN — Brooke County Sheriff Richard Ferguson stands by samples of signs that residents may purchase to designate their homes with the new citystyle addresses that will be assigned to many homes and businesses in the county. -- Warren Scott
But Ferguson takes the latter effort very seriously, and it's why he's making still more signs available for residents who in the months ahead will be issued new numbered street addresses like those found in cities.
A major reason why many residents will be assigned the new addresses is to help police, firefighters and ambulance crews to easily locate residences and homes in the event of an emergency, he noted.
Many roads in the county are identified only by rural route numbers, such as RD 1 or RR 2.
The change has been ordered by the federal government and the new addresses will be used by the U.S. Postal Service unless residents have their mail sent to a post office box.
But everyone will be asked to display their street numbers on reflective signs that are easily visible at night and attached to their homes or a mailbox or post near their driveway, depending on the proximity of their home to the nearest road.
Ferguson said the Brooke County Commission may be asked to adopt an ordinance setting requirements for the signs.
But for now, he's asking for residents' cooperation. He said he hopes to make it easier for them by offering green reflective signs bearing the numbers of the new addresses.
Residents may purchase the signs for $20, the cost to make them using the same equipment purchased by the sheriff's department for the various new street signs, Ferguson said.
For information about the signs or citystyle addressing, call the sheriff's department at (304) 737-3660 ext. 104.
"We've already given out about 600 new addresses of about 10,000 (to be issued)," the sheriff said.
Ferguson said citystyle addressing for the county's Buffalo Tax District has been completed, and his crews are working with the U.S. Postal Service and PTS Solutions of Baton Rouge to finalize addresses for the Cross Creek Tax District.
He hopes the process can be completed before his term ends in December.
Ferguson said when residents and businesses receive their new addresses, they should notify utility providers, credit card companies and others of the change through the "change of address" portion on their bills.
"This will be a little bit of a pain for just a little bit," he said.
Ferguson has been aided by Terry and Cheryl Dick, a Wellsburg couple who began as volunteers and later were hired on a part-time basis, in identifying and naming hundreds of streets, following work begun by various individuals under his predecessor, the late Bernie Kazienko.
The effort involves primarily unincorporated areas of the county, but the sheriff's department has helped cities in naming some unnamed streets and alleys.
Names for streets and roads in or outside cities have come from the name of a resident who has lived there longest, bits of history surrounding the road or suggestions from the residents.
Ferguson said a total of 677 streets and roads in the county have been entered, with the police, fire and ambulance departments serving them and general directions, into a computer system used by the county's emergency 911 center.
As they are approved, the numbered citystyle addresses will follow.
Most will correspond with the milepoint for a given home or business on the road.
Residents or businesses on state Route 27 and Eldersville Road who already have numbered addresses will retain them. There are so many residents on the two roads, it was decided their current numbers serve the purpose of clarifying where they live, Ferguson said.
(Scott can be contacted at email@example.com)