All around Asheville, wayfinding signs keep peeling, and a legal battle has ensued between the Tourism Development Authority and contractors who want more money to repair the tattered project. Meanwhile, the TDA has turned to other companies to fix the problem.
The signs — paid for with $1 million in hotel tax revenues, designed by West Chester, Pa.-based Merje design studio and installed by Reading, Pa.-based L&H Signs — began peeling shortly after they were finished. By the TDA’s count, about 30 of the signs were peelings; the TDA demanded they be fixed, and according to Phil Smith, an attorney with the Van Winkle law firm, the contractors wanted more money.
“The current situation is that they’re peeling,” Smith, now representing the TDA in their legal battle against the contractors, tells Xpress. “We submitted a demand to them to fix the signs, which were not as agreed in the contract. TDA’s not an expert in this field, they’re obviously dependent upon the designer and the fabricator to come up with the product they expected to get, and they obviously haven’t gotten it.”
When the TDA raised their objections, L&H “presented three options, each of which required the payment of additional money over and above what was originally in the contract,” Smith says. “The first two options didn’t even have a warranty with them.”
He added that TDA has refused to pay L&H $250,000 in remaining funds, something that the sign company believes it’s owed.
The result, Smith says, is that the TDA is looking for another fabricator to fix the problem.
“It will probably be a couple of weeks,” Smith says. “Hopefully, at that point we’ll be able to move ahead and get the signs corrected as quickly as possible.”
— David Forbes, senior reporter