City replaces downtown signs calling palmetto rose sellers "roaming peddlers"

Four new signs direct pedestrians to four city-designated kiosks

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The new signs simply refer pedestrians to city-designated kiosks. - PHOTO VIA SHAKEM AKHET/FACEBOOK
  • Photo via Shakem Akhet/Facebook
  • The new signs simply refer pedestrians to city-designated kiosks.
On Thursday, the City of Charleston replaced 10 downtown signs that referred to those selling palmetto roses as "roaming peddlers."

The old signs, located throughout the Market Street tourist area, read: "The sale of palmetto roses by roaming peddlers is illegal."

Four new signs have been placed near the four city-designated palmetto rose kiosks.



Palmetto roses are crafts made of the folded fronds of palmetto trees, usually sold by young African-American boys throughout downtown Charleston.

Charleston City Council created the "Youth Palmetto Art and Business Program" in 2007 in an attempt to curb sales practices that market merchants and visitors found obnoxious and sometimes unhealthy, as youth were dropped off for hours on end without water or supervision.

Kids and teens between the ages of nine and 16 must complete a business course and obtain a parent's consent to legally sell the crafts at one of four official city kiosks at Aquarium Wharf, Market Street, the Customs House, or Waterfront Park.

The program came under scrutiny in July after a 16-year-old rose seller was arrested following an altercation with a police officer.

A committee to review and improve the program's goals met for the first time on Aug. 27. It has spawned four working groups focusing on everything from ordinance enforcement to youth employment for sellers who age out of the program.
"In concert with the creation of the Palmetto Rose Artisan Working Group, city officials met with community leaders to devise new language for the signs that would emphasize the city program and help citizens find their way to authorized kiosk locations," said city spokesperson Chloe Field in a statement.

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