Weatherford Democrat

December 26, 2013

Signs of the future?

City proposes electric signage to promote events


Weatherford Democrat

— By BRIAN SMITH

New ways of advertising Weatherford events are being looked at by city officials.

Assistant City Manager Sharon Hayes told Municipal Utility Board members last week that electric utility crews were spending a lot of their time putting banners up and taking them down before and after events. Banners are only allowed in eight areas around the city, most of them on state and federal highways.

Hayes said a large number of groups want to put banners up but about 30 groups a year are able to because of logistics.

“There’s a little bit of time in August where we have a window,” Hayes said.

“There is normally a lot of jockeying for position during busy times. We want to be able to help more groups but we can’t.”

Hayes said one alternative being considered is partnering with the Weatherford Chamber of Commerce in placing a digital sign outside the chamber office on Fort Worth Highway. The 4-foot by 10-foot screen will allow for video clips, pictures and allow unlimited group use at the same time, Hayes said.

“It helps electric utilities by cutting the amount of staff time being used on banners and allows events by both profit and non-profit organizations to be advertised, which we can’t publicize for profit events with the banners by law,” Hayes said.

Hayes said if the board did decide on the continued use of banners, Parks and Recreation would be handling the groups and installation of the banners.

Board members had some problems with the initial suggestion. Board chair and Mayor Dennis Hooks said having the sign at the chamber is just one location and drivers who don’t go by there are missing out. Board member and Mayor Pro Tem Craig Swancy suggested looking at digital signage at places throughout the city.

Board member Howard McClurkin suggested having corporate sponsors pay for or lease the signage with the understanding their business would be permanently placed along the bottom of the sign.

“Just having the one sign could potentially hurt economic development here,” McClurkin said. “We need to expand the message to our traveling public, particularly along Interstate 20 to help improve our positioning in the minds of larger event organizers.”

Board member and city council member Heidi Wilder said any signage changes needed to be coordinated with Director of Capital Transportation Projects Terry Hughes to ensure signage didn’t look “cluttered or haphazard.”

Discussion of using electronic billboards along the interstate was also discussed. No decisions were made and the matter will continue to be looked into, Hayes said.