Archive for Thursday, September 20, 2007

U.S. 56 banner proposal nets council’s views

September 20, 2007

If Stan Vickers gets his way, there will be a banner across U.S. Highway 56 promoting events in and around Baldwin City, as well as urging people to shop in the community.

Vickers unveiled his idea to the Baldwin City Council at Monday night's meeting. The banner would be in the area of the Baldwin City Market to across the street. It would promote such events as the Maple Leaf Festival, Battle of Black Jack, Baker University activities and others including Planes, Trains and Automobiles throughout the year.

Vickers is still working on the details, but thinks a permanent frame -- not telephone poles and cables, such as Ottawa has -- would be best. He isn't sure of the cost and estimated a ball-park figure of $5,000, but was seeking the city's approval to proceed.

"I have a long ways to go with this, but I have good support from the community," Vickers said Tuesday. "This is just an outline for it."

Council members expressed concerns about the banner, mostly safety items, but weren't against it.

"I think there's a lot of research and study they haven't done," said Council Member Doyle Jardon. "I'm not against this at all. I think we're very early in this. We need to make sure it's a safe structure."

In addition to safety issues, Mayor Gary Walbridge wondered what residents might think of the banner across the highway.

"I'd like to know how the community feels about this," said Walbridge.

Unlike most council meetings, there was a full house from Monday's meeting. Most were there in support of the newly formed Economic Development Committee. Several of them said the need for the banner to promote business was important.

City staff and council members also expressed concern about city crews being responsible for changing the banner and maintaining the frame.

Vickers said he would do some more research and get back to the council. On Tuesday, he outlined how he'd started the project and had obtained approval of the Kansas Department of Transportation if the city council approved it.

"Last year, I took off with this," said Vickers. "I went to (City Administrator) Jeff (Dingman) last year and he thought it was a good idea. He suggested going to KDOT with it. They didn't have a problem with it.

"When I got KDOT's blessing, I went back to him. He said, 'I really didn't think you'd get that far,'" said Vickers.

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