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High winds blow down Oakwood welcome sign
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The Exit 17 welcome sign for Oakwood off of Interstate 985 was blown down by strong winds Thursday night.

According to Oakwood City Manager Stan Brown, the sign was removed immediately after it was found to be blown over.

“(The) sign was blown over by the wind,” he said in an email Saturday. “(The) sign contractor has removed the sign from the site; assessing the damage, and will get back to us next week with a game plan.”

According to Alex Gibbs of the National Weather Service out of Peachtree City, peak wind gusts reached 47 mph at 7:17 p.m. on Thursday night. The NWS automated recording station at Lee Gilmer Memorial Airport in Gainesville recorded gusts of 36 mph.

The time of the incident is unknown, according to Brown.

The sign, which was located at Thurmon Tanner at Ga. 13/Atlanta Highway, stood over 35 feet wide and more than 10 feet tall. It included an electronic message board and also space for both the Oakwood and logos for Gainesville State College and Lanier Technical College.

The sign was constructed during the summer as a partnership between the colleges and city at cost of $75,000. The colleges use the sign’s message board to publicize key announcements, and Oakwood to advertise city-sponsored events.