It is almost second nature to most Bradley County residents to drive down Cleveland’s Keith Street and take a quick glance to the right or left to see what might be on those big screens in front of the Village Green Town Center.
Now, that area landmark is about to provide a larger and clearer picture with what is being termed “a futuristic upgrade.”
Will Jones, vice president of Jones Properties, announced this week that the “Jones-a-Tron” video screens, which have been a highlight of the Village Green Town Center for 17 years, will be replaced later this summer with larger screens that offer the clearest high-definition quality available when viewing from a distance.
“This is an expensive upgrade that offers a 30 percent size increase and 300 times more clarity,” said Jones. “For years we’ve received praise from people who love to drive by and see the pictures and messages we’ve displayed on the Jones-a-Tron. This upgrade is for those people — and everyone in Cleveland that loves the Jones-a-Tron. They deserve it.”
Jones revealed that the new screens, which measure 9 feet high and 20 feet across, will be installed in June. A special unveiling will be scheduled for the public with Mayor Tom Rowland and other city and county officials expected to attend.
The new screens were produced by Watchfire Signs, an American company founded under the original name “Time-O-Matic” in 1932 in Danville, Illinois.
“When we say that our displays are manufactured right here in Danville, we don’t mean assembled from imported parts or stored in a warehouse,” said company President and CEO Steve Harriott in a statement. “Everything we do is conceived, tested, and designed here, because with everything under one roof we have the highest degree of control.”
Jones said he evaluated a short list of high-tech companies to upgrade the Jones-a-Tron, but ultimately chose Watchfire because of its elite reputation.
“They are known for using the highest quality components in the nation,” Jones said. “We weren’t going to trust this project to anyone but the best.”
Check Into Cash President Steve Scoggins — the company whose headquarters anchor the Village Green — said details about the time and date of the official unveiling of the Jones-a-Tron will be published later this year.
“I remember when we got our first Jones-a-Tron and we are just as excited about getting the new one,” said Scoggins. “This is the type of technology you don’t usually see in a small town, and we are thrilled that everyone is excited.”
Jones agreed with Scoggins and revealed that the original name for the Jones-a-Tron was “Village Green Weather Scene.”
The screens were originally intended to display news bulletins for the community, along with the weather and temperature.
As time went by, fans nicknamed it “Jones-a-Tron” — the name that was eventually adopted.
“The name ‘Jones-a-Tron’ came from my father (Allan Jones Jr.’s) friends and was never intended to be permanent, but it’s part of the community now,” Jones said.
Jones expects that when the new “Jones-a-Tron” is finally revealed there will inevitably be comparisons to New York’s Times Square.
“We’re making history because we love this city,” Jones said.
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