Advertising banners in Ames Park: what are the guidelines?

Car Care Fair banner This big banner in Ames Park is promoting this Saturday’s Car Care Fair at Econofoods. If your business need advertising signs then you can order online. Participating businesses are all part of the Napa Auto Care network. I love the idea of the fair but I’m curious: can any business advertise in this park like this?  Must a fee be paid? Are business banners different than non-profit banners? (I don’t see any guidelines on the City’s Rentals and Permits page.) If and when the Ames Park Master Plan is implemented, will advertising banners continue to be allowed in the park?


  1. Tracy Davis said:

    Griff – did you call City Hall to ask?

    May 12, 2009
  2. Griff Wigley said:

    Nope, I’m not wearing the reporter hat today. Maybe someone else could put it on!

    May 12, 2009
  3. Charlene Coulombe-Fiore said:

    Gee, I don’t know. Maybe I can call City Hall for ya all…after all I surely remember a whole lot of shaking going on when the Final Course had a ” Grand Opening Banner” sign on their building, and then there was the signs for lunch specials across the street, another no -no. (and another ouch for business and marketing)
    But then when the truth was told, the facts of the matter were clearly about the route
    as the ” sign police ” took a certain route to get home. Another oops on uniformity. Again, this surely was a cause for anger and grief to get punished because those were the only people who got the calls the next day to remove the signs. (oops again) Location, location, location brings a whole new meaning to the word sign ordinance. Sorry folks, I haven’t read these blogs in awhile and I guess I just needed a good laugh. Too funny again…

    May 12, 2009
  4. kiffi summa said:

    OK, Griff… you asked a lot of questions, to raise a lot of issues; a technique I often use by the way… but it doesn’t always seem to work very well, and indeed is not working now. You are not getting any answers.
    And that illuminates a problem with blogs… they are often good for getting people to spout off opinions (me included)… but just as often not good at getting answers.

    Think about how to solve that problem.
    Is there a solution?

    P.S. I bet if it was a banner that had anything to do with an event on a Lansing property, or even anything “Lansing” , you’d run up 37 comments in a day.
    Think about that, also.

    May 14, 2009
  5. Patrick Enders said:

    So Griff,
    Have you called city hall to answer your question?

    May 14, 2009
  6. Griff Wigley said:

    Patrick, I sent an email to city hall yesterday morning. No reply yet.

    Kiffi, this issue isn’t urgent or even that important. So I don’t think it’s a problem for me to just spend the time to take the photo and blog the question and hope that someone else either has the answer or is curious enough themselves to dig for the answer.

    May 14, 2009
  7. kiffi summa said:

    Agreed, Griff… I was just noting what type of issue piles up responses, and what doesn’t.

    May 14, 2009
  8. Charlene Coulombe-Fiore said:

    So no one wants to talk to me anymore?
    I thought I raised a few good points here.
    The issues with signs in Northfield should have some flexibilty. Surely many a baseball/soccor/football field in any State provides opportunities for the youth to continue their sports. I know of many that rely heavily on those banners. If a sign helps a business gain attention, or make sales…during tough times especially…have a heart. And surely have a plan. If your going to enforce a sign ordinance, then it should be done to all and not just what you see on your way home leaving Northfield, only to create a headache in the morning. Surely thought with Tracey’s and Ross’s entreprenuerial (sp?) spirit, I wouldve
    gotten a few sparks.

    May 14, 2009
  9. Charlene Coulombe-Fiore said:

    A great suggestion would be: Non permanent signs, or signs used to improve the quality of Life for Northfield citizens, (advertising/sponsorships) are exempt from the sign ordinance.
    or add whatever criteria the people feel is fair without creating a sign nightmare. Surely a bank should be able to advertise rates, or a restaurant their family specials.
    In one community I worked, in the downtown area we provided an approval process and provided grants to bring the signage in line with the historical nature of the area. (it was an old town look) we provided up to $5,000 for every 10,000 they invested. In another community, the Village said, the bigger the better, but It will cost you. The Village listened to the businesses along the highway who wanted their name in lights, and they benefited as well. An annual fee was charged based on the size of the sign and the lights. The village collects over $180,000 dollars each year for that and the numbers continue to grow. The businesses grow as well and expand and add employees, and on and on the cylce goes. All benefiting the community. A win win situation.

    May 14, 2009
  10. Anne Bretts said:

    OK, Griff, you still may have to confirm this, but here’s a relatively recent experience with this situation.
    As I recall, there’s no big conspiracy or collusion or secret cabal, just an informal small town approach to something that until now hasn’t required a big bureaucratic process.
    I worked on the first YMCA Healthy Kids Day a couple of years ago and I called City Hall and asked the same question. The answer was that there was no charge for the space and the rules were pretty informal — an honor system of sorts. You just needed to let them know when you would put the sign up and how long you needed the space. It was understood that you’d secure it safely and take the sign down right after the event. It was also understood that the space was for community events like the hospital book fair and not private business advertising.
    Ray Cox and I went out on a bitterly cold day to rig up a sign there and he was ingenious in getting it stabilized given the circumstances.
    I thought at the time it would make sense to have an electronic sign and charge for rotating notices to cover the cost, or at the very least to have a frame that holds a 4×8 plywood sign so everything would be safe and standardized in appearance.
    Perhaps the Ames plan could include a nice brick corner sign, with an embedded electronic message panel.

    May 16, 2009
  11. Griff Wigley said:

    Thanks for chiming in here, Charlene and Anne.

    I think this is a parks issue, not a sign ordinance issue.

    I’m fine if there’s an informal “only event-related banners allowed in Ames Park” policy. It would just be nice for area businesses to know that they can put banners there for their events, too, not just non-profits.

    May 16, 2009
  12. Charlene Coulombe-Fiore said:

    Griff, your welcome., and Anne, glad to see your back on locally grown. Hope the move went well.
    As for the City/Park issue, Same pair of pants, just different pockets guys.
    The Park and the City are run by the same folks. So a mute point. Getting back to the topic, advertising for a business, supporting youth sports, are all win win situations. If it gets to be “too ugly”, then perhaps an ordinance or the sign police need to step in. Other than that, to not allow Quarter Back club to announce a special of the day, or the bank to advertise CD rates…. are issues the businesses should go back to City council for a re-write. Just my two cents which is pretty focused on increasing sales tax revenues and supporting businesses. Have a wonderful weekend all.

    May 16, 2009
  13. Dan Freeman said:

    Time for me to weigh in. In my travels through the midwest I often get off the freeway and explore small towns along two lane roads. On those journeys I have seen a couple of signs that might address this problem. Assuming you think its a problem. An electronic sign is placed at a well traveled intersection and the messages are placed through the controlling authority. They run across the sign with electronic letters. There is a charge and these charges help pay for the sign and also its upkeep. Perhaps there should be such a message venue here in Northfield. One that coordinates with the recent streetscape design. Anyone else seen one of these sign machines?

    May 21, 2009
  14. Mary Rossing said:

    The Mayor’s Streetscape Taskforce will be meeting again, with new and returning members in the mix, mid June. This is one of their charges. A permanent kiosk has been talked about as we continue to work to add amenities to the downtown and gateway areas. They will be looking at many potential projects and prioritizing and making recommendations to the council. All projects need to be in place (or in progress) by the end of 2013 as this is the end of the master development funds.

    May 21, 2009

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