The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
Port Arthur residents who were accustomed to seeing a big, blue plastic sign on the corner of Woodworth Boulevard and Bluebonnet Avenue will have to look a little to the right these days.
The sign, which reads “Life ain’t easy. God is our only hope,” was removed from city property Wednesday and back onto the Pop’s Tire Shop lot as directed by City Manager Floyd Johnson.
Rufus Myers III was working outside Wednesday morning when Johnson stopped by the shop and asked the employee to move the sign off city property, Myers said.
“This spot here is legendary,” Myers, who has worked at the tire shop for about a year, said.
The sign has rested in that spot on the corner of Woodworth Boulevard and Bluebonnet Avenue for 30 years, said Bob Choate, owner of Pop’s Tire Shop. And no one has ever complained about it to him.
“Port Arthur is a godly town,” Choate said. “Everyone believes in God.”
But the problem was not the message on the sign, Johnson said. It’s where it was placed — on the corner, leaning against the traffic signal and blocking the view of traffic.
“I think I’m beginning to set an example for my code enforcement folks, and hopefully everybody else, that it takes a concerted effort citywide in order for us to get a better-looking city,” the city manager said.
Johnson said the city would not just look the other way whenever something tarnished the appearance of Port Arthur, and he feels the same way about some of the buildings downtown that have been vacant for 20 years.
“Just because things have existed in a less-than-desirable fashion for a number of years doesn’t mean we have to continue to settle for that,” he said.
He just finally had the time to stop by the tire shop Wednesday, Johnson said.
“I had previously taken note of that sign,” he said. “So, I decided that as city manager, sometimes, the best example is a personal example.”
While he has never had any complaints about his bright blue sign, Choate, 83, has received the occasional donation from passing strangers and customers because of its presence on the corner.
An attorney stopped by the tire shop one day and wrote the shop a $100 check because she saw the sign on the corner, Choate said.
City of Port Arthur vehicles stop by the shop all the time, Choate said, and no one has ever said anything about the sign obstructing the view of traffic on the road.
Pop’s Tire Shop has been on that corner since 1980 when Choate and his wife moved to Port Arthur from Corpus Christi to retire. It was just a vacant building before that, Choate said.
Choate and his wife purchased the sign because they “just believe in God,” he said.