Motorists driving on the south end of Dumas Avenue in the evening this past week have, no doubt, seen that there is a new LED sign in front of the Dumas/Moore County Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center. It is bright. "We are very excited and hope it will be an asset to the community," said Carl Watson, Dumas/Moore County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director. "We are going to play it by ear," he said on whether the brightness of the sign needs to be adjusted. "Your eyes will be drawn to it at night. As long as you can read it, that is the only thing I care about. We will make sure that you can read it."
The sign went up last Friday and was programmed on Tuesday. It has five messages right now, the limit, says Watson, of how many messages motorists can safely read as they drive by. Right now it has a message about Halloween, the upcoming Candy Cane Lane event in November, a message about seat belts, the time, and a welcome to Dumas message. He hopes to have the temperature in the future. "It will have a variety of things on there. We talked with the Moore County emergency management people … to get them to where they can go into the sign and put emergency information on. If there is a road closure or we have problems, they will be able to supersede the information on it." He is also talking with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) about the same thing. "It (the sign) is a great asset for the county, because it will have that information from the Chamber, our cities, the county, emergency management information. The great thing about it is that it is relatively easy to get information onto the sign, and it is remote; we can do it literally from anywhere we have a computer."
Watson says the sign was one of the first things he wanted to do when he took the job at the Chamber two years ago. There was a problem, however: TxDOT owned the land in front of the Chamber building. Two years and several appearances at meetings of the Dumas City Commission later, TxDOT transferred the land to the City of Dumas, except for a 20 foot strip near the road that the agency needed. "We are appreciative of the city and the state. Arbie (Dumas City Manager Arbie Taylor) kept his hand on things. The local TxDOT people, here and in Amarillo, were very helpful."
Watson is pleased the sign is finally up and running. "To me that sign is more than just a sign. As people are coming into the community, you want to have a visual of the community … that sign represents progress; it represents technology. It shows that the community is forward thinking.