One City Under God’ will return
When visitors drive into Atlanta for the first time they are presented with a huge billboard on Hwy 59 that has normally said One City Under God Atlanta… until recently. To the shock of many in the community the bill board changed. The community was a buzz with what happened, with a general sense of dismay.
“The One City under God billboard that everyone knows and loves was put up in 2015. The main visionary behind the clear, bold message was then Mayor, the late Keith Crow. What many residents don’t realize is that we actually had a billboard in a different location for years with the same message... It just wasn’t until we simplified the font and background and moved the sign so that it was the first thing you saw on Highway 59 as you made the curve coming in town. There it was... Just ahead of the Atlanta water tower. “When the skies were just right, it appeared that God himself was shining favor down on the sign. Some days, people would snap a pic and post it to social media... Breathtaking skies and beams of light behind the billboard.” says Miranda Johnson from the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce.
Fast forward to 2019...
“The Atlanta Tourism Committee had been funding the sign since the beginning. Visitors and residents alike expressed feelings of safety, peace and wellbeing in this town after they saw the sign. We have even had residents tell us that the OCUG billboard was what caught their attention and made them consider calling Atlanta home! The tourism board had no intention to take down the sign or stop funding it. The Chamber of Commerce does all admin for the tourism committee.
The Chamber office set up the billboard payment to monthly auto draft. Recently, the chamber had some staff turnover. Coincidentally, Fairway Outdoor signs started a new sales rep for Atlanta. Between those two changes, the contract was not renewed this past May. “In fact, nobody in our city or chamber even realized the sign had been sold until pics of the new sign hit social media!” explained Johnson.
Once she found out, Johnson contacted Corey Graf at the Atlanta branch of State Bank, since their sign was the one Fairway Outdoors had replaced the In God We Trust sign. “To be clear, says Johnson, “We don’t blame Fairway Outdoors... It was an unfortunate miscommunication for those involved.”
“When I expressed to Corey my shock and disappointment about the sign contract being sold, he offered to call his board and see if anything could be done. Ultimately, State Bank had signed a 6 month contract with Fairway Outdoors, but they were extremely kind to offer to not only give up that spot, but also to pay for our cost to have the vinyl replaced with our One City Under God sign again. Once they realized that we never meant to let our contact expire, he jumped into action and definitely “went to bat” for us! We (the chamber) are really thankful for State Banks generosity,” continued Johnson.
Now says Johnson, “the plan is for us to take back the contract on the billboard and put our message back up. We haven’t yet decided if it will have the exact same design or if we will give it a fresh tweak... But it’s coming!”