City tightens rules on Anton Park sign

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff


THE CITY COUNCIL Tuesday approved new rules for the message sign in Anton Park. The sign will continue to be operated and maintained by the Eagles Club, but commercial, political or other inappropriate messages will no longer be allowed. — Review photo by Emmitt B. Feldner THE CITY COUNCIL Tuesday approved new rules for the message sign in Anton Park. The sign will continue to be operated and maintained by the Eagles Club, but commercial, political or other inappropriate messages will no longer be allowed. — Review photo by Emmitt B. Feldner PLYMOUTH – The city will be watching the messages on the Anton Park sign board more closely.

The City Council Tuesday approved a resolution “providing guidance on (the) public message display” sign in the downtown park alongside the Mill Pond dam.

“There have been, at times, messages posted that the general public objected to,” City Administrator Brian Yerges explained to the council.

“There has been an issue on occasion (with) statements on the message board which we don’t directly control,” Yerges continued.

The sign is located in the public park but is managed by the private, non-profit Eagles Club, which places the messages on the sign.

“At this time, we’re not proposing to assign this (duty) to the Public Works Department, to put up these messages and change them. We’d like to keep it with the nonprofit group,” Yerges said.

“We decided it would be in our best interest to pass this resolution outlining what our expectations are for that board,” Yerges added.

The resolution lists four categories of prohibited messages for the sign:

. Contains profane or obscene language.

. Supports or opposes any particular religious belief.

. Endorses or opposes a political candidate or ideology.

. Commercial advertising for goods or services.

Allowable messages include advertising a charity or community wide event, a public service announcement or recognizing an individual for an accomplishment or milestone.

“This is one of those policy decisions that the council gets to make,” City Attorney Crystal Fieber advised.

She added that the policy allows the city administrator authority to determine if a message is allowable if the non-profit group operating the sign is unsure.

The administrator also has the authority to direct removal of any message deemed unallowable under the policy.

“I would welcome anyone else’s help in that role,” Yerges quipped.

Fieber said the proposed policy would also go to the Park Board for their approval, as the sign is located in a city park.

Yerges assured the council members that any changes the Park Board might want in the policy would come back to the council for final approval.

The policy was adopted unanimously.

Alderman David Williams, the council’s representative to the Plymouth Intergenerational Coalition Board of Directors, reported on senior center operations at the Generations center.

The city contracts with PIC to operate the city’s senior center at the inter-generational center.

“I’m very pleased to say that they have expanded programs again this year,” Williams said of the senior center. “Attendance is up and usage of programs is up. The inter-generational programming is constantly being revised and increased. Things are being utilized and attendance has been consistent.”

Williams noted that PIC is looking to install a permanent pickleball court on their campus to meet the growing popularity of the sport – a cross between badminton and tennis – with senior center and other Generations patrons.

To that end, he said, PIC is applying for a grant from the city’s senior center reserve funds to help defray the cost of the court.

That request will be going to the Committee on Aging later this month, according to Williams. That group will make a recommendation on the grant request to the council for their final action.

“They’ve got a very healthy facility out there and it’s receiving very good support from the community,” Williams said of PIC and Generations.


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