High upon Parks and Recreation Director Christmas list is an electronic reader board to compliment the city’s beautiful new .
The center, formerly the city’s library, and since then has been adorned only with a static sign on the north end of the lot that still reads “Future Home of the Greenfield Community Center.”
At Tuesday’s 6:30 p.m. Plan Commission meeting at City Hall, Jaquish, along with Mark Rausch of Clear Channel, will ask for a sign waiver that would allow Clear Channel to construct a reader board monument that stands 8 ½ feet high and 14 feet long.
The actually reader board would be 6 feet high and 12 feet long.
“It’s a beautiful board,” Jaquish said. “Clear Channel said it would be the first one of its kind that it has.
“It’s important not only to get the message out about programming and things of that nature, but it’s also a source of revenue to support the Community Center.”
Jaquish said the board would come at no cost to the city and that Clear Channel would pay for the purchase, installation and any ongoing utility costs for the board. In addition, Planning Commission notes indicate there have been discussions between the city and Clear Channel that would allow for monthly payments by Clear Channel to the city, which could be earmarked toward Community Center operational costs.
The reader board would have seven, 8-second rotating ‘screens,’ one of which would be dedicated for public use – city promotions, Community Center-related messages, etc. – and the other seven for commercial advertising.
The commercial advertising, however, is a sticky situation that could derail the proposal. According to Community Development Manager Chuck Erickson, the Planning Commission will likely recommend the Common Council deny the plan as proposed because of the city’s sign code that prohibits off-premises signs, or signs that are not appurtenant to the use of the property where the sign is located.
A ‘yes’ recommendation would open Pandora’s box, Erickson said.
“Whatever our premise would be for saying yes, how do we, rhetorically say no to ACME Inc. or John Doe business owner who can make a similar arrangement for their property?” Erickson said. “The notion of, ‘Well it’s for the city and for community good, we’re willing to raise money toward an operational expense. But any business could claim the exact same thing.
“Whether it's Clear Channel or Lamar, whatever the sign may be, if someone has frontage on a commercial corridor – and we’ve got a few of those in the city – we could have message boards popping up that are totally unrelated to the business that’s there.
“On the other side, the money coming in would go toward a big chunk of the operational costs of the community center. This isn’t a clean ‘yes’ or ‘no’ kind of thing. There are reasons for one recommendation or the other.”
The Planning Commission can recommend to the Common Council that the proposal be denied, but ultimately it is up to the Common Council, which will likely take up the matter next Tuesday.
Other Planning Commission business
The Planning Commission will also hear a proposal to improve the landscaping at the WE Energies substation at the northeast corner of 43rd Street and Layton Avenue. The changes would include replacing the existing chain-link fence with a different type of security fencing and the addition of 16 trees around the substation.
Also, business owner Leonard Buda will share his proposal for an organic gardening shop to fill a vacant building at 3318 W. Loomis.