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AUSTIN EDITION - Sign issue has sellers cornered

Rummagers would settle for alternative sign location

By Jim Troyer

*ews@postbulletin.com

If the city comes up with a better place to put garage sale signs, it'll be all right with the folks who hold those sales.

"I only put them there (the top of Skinners Hill) because everyone else does," said Angie Schuster, who was tending her sale on Second Avenue Northeast on Saturday morning.

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She also puts a sign at the corner of 14th Street and Fourth Avenue Northwest near Wescott Field. She puts out lots of signs in order to reach as many people as possible.

Schuster said she'd be happy to post a sign west of the library if the city would provide a place for it or at the parking lot at the bottom of Skinners Hill.

Those locations came up in discussion at a city council meeting last week. Some council members worry that it's not safe to put up signs alongside a busy street. The city already has an ordinance against the practice, but tradition has a force of its own, and there's currently no alternative.

No one's sign could be seen on Skinners Hill on Saturday morning. The corner looked like the aftermath of a riot with broken sticks and rain-soaked signs scattered over the ground and out in the street. Not one of more than a dozen was left standing. What happened to them is the subject of some speculation and remains a mystery.

Signs at 14th Street and Fourth Avenue Northwest fared much better, with only one in the street. John Krebsbach was there about 10 a.m. writing down addresses. Told about the city's plan to outlaw such signs, he was a bit suspicious. "Sounds like the city is trying to wreck everyone's fun," he said.

A collector of "fancy shades of glass," Krebsbach had already had a good day. He showed off a 5-inch high, square bottle of dark red glass. "I found 'a little bit of happiness' and it only cost me $1," he said. With a collector's enthusiasm, he noted that he had seen two similar bottles in a shop recently at $20 apiece.

Krebsbach said the garage sale tradition is important to collectors, but even more important to people who are able to find things they need for far less than they would have to pay in a store. Still, he is not averse to a new idea. "If they come up with a better way of doing it, fine."

"That sounds like a good idea," said Chad Erie, who was busy with a garage sale at Third Avenue and Ninth Street Southwest. "That way everyone would know where you should go to look."

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Kathy Gray, who tended her cash box at 1802 Third Ave. S.W., likes the designated location idea.

"It doesn't have to be anything fancy," she said. "It's a simple solution."

However, her customer at that moment, Maureen Jason, saw a conspiracy. "I just think it's something else for the cops to do," she said.

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