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$35K LED Sign Designed to Attract Downtown Visitors Receives Approval

The sign that will sit close to original homes was approved by a 4 to 2 vote with one trustee abstaining. Village President John Hermes and others objected to the $35,000 sign.

Over objections of the village president, a $35,000 LED sign will soon attempt to draw shoppers from  to downtown Greendale.

It’s part of an ongoing effort to bring visitors to the boutiques, shops and restaurants that comprise the quaint Village Center. Trustees approved it on a 4-2 vote Tuesday but not without hearing from Village President John Hermes.

Hermes said in the last five years or so the Village of Greendale has spent more than $80,000 on signage designed to bring people downtown. This year the village will also spend $160,000 to repave the business parking lots on both sides of Broad Street, said Hermes.

“The shops (in the Village Center) aren’t open during timely hours,” Hermes said. “I’m OK with spending money that is effective to actually help this business center.”

Planned for the intersection of Northway and Grange Avenue, the sign will be 6 feet, 7 inches wide and 5 feet, 7 inches tall. In addition to paying for and installing the sign, the village — which will control the messaging — will spend about $2,000 annually for upkeep.

The sign’s final design has not been approved due to aesthetic concerns from board members.

“Other than the LED board pictured, the wing walls and wording above the sign may not be included,” wrote Village Manager Todd Michaels in an email.

It will sit close to original homes on Apple Court and particularly close to one house. The land is village property and the owner of the home does not mind having the sign if landscaping and fencing surround it, said Trustee Greg Turay.

Turay, who abstained from voting, owns property near the sign and was concerned the sign could devalue nearby property—but that he was not completely opposed to the sign.

Hermes, on the other hand, is wholly opposed to the sign. He said adjacent property owners have emailed the village opposing the sign and expressing concern over devaluing property.

The sign evolved from meetings with shop owners discussing ways to encourage visitors to come downtown for shopping and events such as Village Days, Open Market and Gazebo concerts.  That led to the idea of an LED sign at the corner of Grange Avenue and Loomis Road, as well as an archway on Northway and Grange Avenue that will be paid for mostly by the shop owners. The archway is still being discussed.

On Feb. 29 the board saw a demonstration of how the LED sign would look at the Northway intersection.

Some trustees liked the demonstrations and others didn’t. 

“Against the originals it looked gaudy, cheap, out of character and out of charm,” Hermes said. “If it would have gone through Planning Commission it might have gotten eat out, chewed out and spit out. The planning commission has never allowed an LED sign except for the high school and Martin Luther High School.”

Former Village Trustee and resident Dave Bauer could not believe that the sign did not go through Planning Commission.

“I cannot believe that it has been approved,” said Bauer. “I commend those who had enough guts to vote against it.”

Jesse March 27, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Did you go to the trustee meeting and see the mess of people that consist of the Board? The Village President who thinks an LED sign is tacky but not 3 story apartment buildings in a parking lot. Sally Chadwick who voted for the sign- wanted more information about the design of the sign, wanted to send it back to public works, but then votes for it even without the information she wanted to make an educated vote. Who buys anything without having final plans/product in place? Come Tuesday, election day, those two will not have my vote. Yup, you don't have to connect the line for Village Trustee or President, you don't have to write in a name, just leave it blank and let you voice be heard. No confidence in the current board.
jeff ircink April 18, 2012 at 11:10 PM
why, pray tell, does Greendale have a planning commission if this was not sent to the planning commission for its feedback. why? cause the planning commission would've - as our Village President stated - ripped it to shreds. nice going, Board of Trustees. my grandfather helped settle Greendale when it opened and he's rolling in his grave right now. pathetic.
jeff ircink April 19, 2012 at 02:03 AM
historical guidelines? exactly - which is why the planning commission would've thrown this out had it gone to them first. AND - the planning commission was aware of this and i know that some of the members were dead-set against it. SWeimer????? :) WHOOO!
jeff ircink April 19, 2012 at 02:27 AM
i live here and i wouldn't call d.t. Greendale a "ghost town"....or even heading in that direction. retailers need to create "events" to get people d.t.
jeff ircink July 07, 2012 at 08:45 PM
personal UPDATE: i just saw the new LED sign. my thoughts: 1) still against the sign; however, it doesn't look as bad as i thought. 2) perhaps the green lettering is because we're Greendale, but i think WHITE would show up better and be more easily seen. 3) does the sign actually direct people to d.t. Greendale? "Greendale - this way"? there are a couple other signs that say "Greendale". what difference will this sign make - even if you post events? there are people who live in Greendale who've said they don't even know where the Village is. 4) will the cost justify the sign? will the sign, in fact, direct/draw people to the Village? and once down in the Village, what has/will change d.t. to justify someone being directed to come down there?

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