Driving west on Forest Hill Boulevard into Wellington, attentive readers might notice something that would cause them to raise their eyebrows.
The sign approaching one of the village’s main intersections reads “Southshore Blvd.” But the sign at the intersection says “South Shore Blvd.”
So is it one word or two?
The two spellings coexisted along the stretch of one of Wellington’s primary thoroughfares for years — until this week.
Several smaller street signs had “Southshore Blvd.” marking the east side of intersections south of Pierson Road. There were seven, and in each place where Southshore was found on the east, South Shore was found to its west.
I didn’t notice those smaller signs until two weeks ago as I drove east on 50th Street South. Did I just see that?
Maybe it’s just the copy editor in my DNA but after a double take, I turned my car around and drove past it again. I doubled back one more time, pulled onto a dirt road and snapped a photo.
The curiosity had been there with the Southshore sign along Forest Hill Boulevard. But now I had to know: Which was correct? Why were they different?
The answer to that first question was cleared up after a discussion with Planning and Zoning Director Bob Basehart. He led me to the village’s comprehensive plan, which maps out all of the major roads with their official names.
Lo and behold: South Shore Boulevard.
The answer was confirmed by Wellington’s first mayor Kathy Foster. It’s two words, she said. South Shore.
Now I just needed the answer to the second question — why the two spellings?
The responses from several Wellington officials and longtime residents: No one knew, but Village Engineer Tom Lundeen confirmed my suspicions that “Southshore” was wrong.
Speaking to Lundeen on Monday afternoon, he pledged to call the village’s Public Works department. Wellington prints its own road signs, he said, so they should be able to have the incorrect signs replaced by the end of the week.
He called back about two hours later to tell me crews wouldn’t have the corrected signs in place by the end of the week — but by the end of the day.
I drove along South Shore after his call, looking for the crews he said already were replacing signs. It took me about five minutes to find them, a two-man team with a utility truck on the northeast corner of South Shore and Indian Mound Road.
The sign soon was fixed, and they were off to the next intersection on their list.
This may not be the most hard-hitting journalism I will ever do, but it probably is the best example I have so far of citizen engagement.
Think of me for a minute not as a reporter, but as a Wellington resident — which I am. I saw something that confused me, something I thought was wrong. I called it to the attention of village staff, and it was fixed.
How often do you walk past something as simple as a misprinted street sign, but shrug and move on instead of saying something?
Now if we can only get Google Maps to stop referring to it as “S Shore Blvd.” we’ll be set.