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Anderson’s Octogenarian Sign Inspector Helped Reduce Visual Clutter for Almost 30 Years

An Anderson Township sign inspector who removed more than 27,000 illegal temporary signs and weathered the sign-heavy chaos of about 60 elections in his almost 30-year career has retired.

Jim Lewis started with Anderson Township in 1990 on a part-time, temporary basis, to enforce the township’s newly adopted sign regulations that were aimed at helping clean up Beechmont Avenue. He came to Anderson after retiring from his first career as an air traffic controller. After only about six weeks into retirement, Lewis found his time off boring and golf not catching his attention, so he sought another job. That’s how he ended up investing the next 30 years helping Anderson reduce its visual clutter and regulate its sign ordinances.

Now 88, Lewis recently left the job and was honored by township trustees for his long years of service. During the growth of the Planning and Zoning Department, Lewis processed an estimated 2,850 sign applications and mentored 15 co-ops from University of Cincinnati by sharing insights into the job and other life lessons. “He taught them how to interact with residents, businesses and political officials,” noted Planning and Zoning Director Paul Drury. “Jim always said he learned from the co-ops too and thoroughly enjoyed working with them.”

Trustee Andrew Pappas noted that Lewis “never missed a day, and was always the first with a joke  He had a great way of interacting with public, sometimes on very difficult matters, and set an example for his co-workers and many future public employees that worked with him.”