No, you’re not seeing things. Signs in downtown Memphis along the river are written backwards.
It’s not a mistake. It was done on purpose, and some downtown residents aren’t happy about it.
From the front it reads fine, but look at the back side of a sign, and it’s written backwards. From the Greenbelt on Mud Island to Front Street to a sign near the Big River Crossing, the backs of all these signs are painted on backwards.
“We really don’t understand why they are backwards,” said downtown resident Karen Soro.
Soro lives on Mud Island. After seeing the backwards signs, she posted about it on social media. Many of her island neighbors chimed in saying they aren’t fans either.
“The people of the island pretty much agree we would like to see these signs gone,” said Soro.
A petition drive is now underway to have the signs either removed or at least painted over and written the right way.
“These signs are probably going to take us through the next century. They are metal. They’re not going anywhere. The wind won’t blow them down. We’re probably stuck with this if we don’t fix it,” said Soro.
“They are definitely bold, definitely fun, and we wanted something different,” said George Abbott, the Director of External Affairs for the River Parks Partnership.
The River Parks Partnership is the group in charge of making improvements to the riverfront. Abbott explained the backwards signs, saying, “It’s designed to show you’re kind of, when you are inside the district versus outside.”
Downtown riverfront parks are now divided into 5 districts. Abbott says the new signs mark those districts and connect the districts together. “If we can think of it as a connected riverfront then it becomes much more powerful.”
Abbott said private money was spent on the signs and even though everyone may not like them, the signs are staying.
“It’s not supposed to be so serious. The parks are supposed to be fun,” said Abbott.