Recycling downtown banners approved

by Emmitt B. Feldner
of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – Worn out downtown street sign banners will be getting new life.

Mary Christel, owner of Christel’s Pet Supplies on Mill Street, won approval from the City Council Wednesday for a plan to give the old banners a new look.

Christel, who also owns a pet store in Kiel, said her plan would mirror one that was successfully done in Kiel.

“What we propose to do downtown is take the old banners you’re going to throw away,” and make them into new banners, Christel said.

Businesses would pay to sponsor the individual banners, which would be painted over with white paint then have seasonal art work painted on them to be rehung downtown.

Christel presented one such banner she and other volunteers had created with Halloween artwork.

“We would get businesses to sponsor them, to paint them and have them installed downtown,” Christel explained.

She said 50 percent of the proceeds of the project – a sponsor fee of $100 per banner is proposed – would be returned to the city to help cover its banner replacement costs.

Christel had presented her proposal to the council’s Public Works and Utilities Commission – which recommended the council approve the plan – at their meeting last month.

She told the committee that the project has the support of the Downtown Artists and Merchants group.

“It’s repurposing (the old banners), it’s bringing the city together and it doesn’t cost you anything,” Christel told the committee.

Director of Public Works Cathy Austin noted that the city replaced 15 worn and faded banners this year alone.

While Christel’s sample banner had a fall/Halloween theme, she admitted to the council that there might not be enough time to have all the banners ready and paid for in time for installation this fall.

Instead, she suggested that the program could be scheduled to begin in the spring, with seasonal banners created every six months or so.

Building Inspector Pete Scheuerman warned that, if the repainted banners contained any advertising or logos for the sponsoring business, they could run afoul of the city’s sign ordinance limiting off-premise advertising.

Christel assured the council that, unlike the banners in Kiel, the ones in Plymouth would contain no sponsorship advertising.

The council unanimously approved the plan, with the stipulation that Christel and the banner group work with Austin on design and placement of the banners.

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