MORGANTOWN — Morgantown’s Woodburn neighborhood is entrenched in its very own whodunnit.
Though, by now, it may be more of a cold case.
Either way, it’s a sign — literally.
Woodburn Neighborhood Association President Karla Myers said residents woke on the morning of Oct. 23 to frightful news — under the cloak of darkness, someone had absconded with the newly restored and painted Woodburn sign at the intersection of Richwood and Monongalia avenues.
An urgent call went out to the Morgantown Police Department, which, to be frank, has more pressing matters.
“These things happen this time of year. We’ll keep an eye out,” came the response, according to Myers.
But that’s not to say the sign isn’t important. In fact, to many longtime Woodburn residents, it’s very important, indeed.
“The thing that is unique about our signs is that they were designed by Jamie Lester, so they’re special in that regard,” Myers said. “Jamie use to live in the neighborhood and took the time to design these signs. So it wasn’t just a sign that we’d made or had a graphic shop work up and make for us, they are special to Woodburn because they were made by Jamie.”
Lester, an artist, West Virginia native and Morgantown resident, has works on display across the state and beyond.
His depiction of the New River Gorge Bridge graces West Virginia’s commemorative quarter. His bronze likenesses of Jerry West, Zackquill Morgan and Don Knotts are among those familiar to Morgantown residents.
Myers said the neighborhood association has been in contact with Lester about the possibility of a new sign — with an assist from the city.
“I’ve talked to [Assistant City Manager] Emily Muzzarelli … and she’s informed me that there is money set aside to give neighborhoods to help fund signs,” Myers said. “So the city is going to help us replace the sign. They know that neighborhood identity is important.”
In the meantime, Deputy Mayor Danielle Trumble, who represents the neighborhood on Morgantown City Council, wants city residents to be on the lookout for the wayward wayfinder.
“It’s 8-feet long, 3-feet tall and says ‘Welcome to Woodburn,’” she said. “If you see it, I’ll give you a reward.”