But soon, the city will be taking out that old clock and replacing it with an electronic message center. Members of the Austell City Council unanimously voted on March 5 to replace the clock with a full-color, LED electronic message center that will not only tell time, but also promote city events.
The new sign — which could be in place by April — is being purchased for $19,861 from Lilburn-based Southeast Message Centers, which sells, installs and services LED electronic message centers that scroll messages across digital displays.
Austell Mayor Joe Jerkins said the clock at city hall has been broken for several years. Attempts to fix it over the years proved unsuccessful, he said.
“We tried to get it replaced, but the company … said we would have to buy a new one and just different things, so we just kind of let it go,” he said. The mayor said the clock was installed during the 1987 renovation of city hall.
Nobody seems to know what caused the clock to stop at 2:26, or when exactly it happened. Some folks said it has been broken for more than a decade, others say at least two decades.
City Councilwoman Trudie A. Causey said she can’t remember when it ever worked, but said the city decided a permanent fix is necessary while making plans for streetscape improvements downtown, including parking on Broad Street.
Councilwoman Suzanne Thomason said Jefferson Street improvements are a continuation of work done on the other side of the railroad tracks that run through the city.
“This will be tying this side over there with that side,” Thomason said.
Denise Soesbee, the city’s finance director, said the new electronic sign is being paid for with a grant through the Livable Centers Initiative, which is an Atlanta Regional Commission program.