By Joe Bachman
A discussion was held by the members of the planning commission on the recent approved motion to allow an animated sign to be used by a local business on Monday night.
The discussion sparked from the approved motion for Coldwell Banker in on 8th St. South to use an animated sign for their business. Adam Tegan, director or economic and planning development, explained to the commission the differences between an electronic sign and an animated sign, noting that an electronic sign will have stationary letters, compared to an animated sign, which has moving letters.
“I’d like to see us get a handle on what 8th Street will look like, and then with that, develop a plan of safety and aesthetics, and build around that,” said alderperson Scott Kellogg. Kellogg is against the use of animated signs due to safety concerns of drivers on 8th St., as well as efforts by the local beautification project to clean up 8th Street with the implementation of greenery. “Each case has it’s merits, but we need to see the big picture, and if a business comes to us next month we could have a quagmire of all different types of signs and approaches on 8th Street; and that will continue to look like a mess.” said Kellogg.
Kellogg also specified 64 businesses on 8th Street with no greenspace, but cited Aldi, and Culvers, both located on 8th Street that utilize their greenspace for flowers and greenery to create a cleaner look. Kellogg would like to see the council partner with businesses in efforts to create a greener and cleaner look to 8th Street.
Alderperson Todd Ferkey noted the importance of local businesses to be able to advertise their products, as well as noting that the safety of drivers on 8th Street is their own responsibility. “As far as the safety aspect goes, whether its a scrolling sign, or an animated sign, I don’t see the difference between that and a manual sign that a business puts up,” said Ferkey. “We allow people running around in purple gorilla suits selling mattresses on the sidewalk — really, the responsibility of safe driving is on the driver.” said Ferkey.
J.R. Siewart, of Coldwell Banker, made it a point to remind the commission that Wisconsin construction and roadwork signs are animated. “The Department of Transportation uses electronic message centers now, because they have found it to be safer.”
Further discussion of usage of animated signs in the community have not yet been scheduled, but will likely be an issue that will see further debate in the coming months.