By Bob Belcher
Corsicana Daily Sun
The Corsicana City Council is going to tell the city's story in a big, big way — on a 48 foot wide electronic billboard on Interstate 45.
The council approved the purchase and construction of the new sign Monday, one that will help promote city events and attractions, and hopefully attract visitors — and their dollars — to the city's businesses and events.
The electronic billboard is similar to the sign recently erected by Collin Street Bakery at its Interstate 45 location, but is “two-sided” so both northbound and southbound traffic will see the messages displayed on the 16 foot by 48 foot electronic displays. It will be installed at the southwest corner of Interstate 45 and Highway 31.
The cost of the sign is being paid through hotel/motel tax dollars, and is being split between the city and the Corsicana Convention and Visitor's Bureau. The hotel/motel tax dollars can only be spent on promoting tourism, and Corsicana Mayor Chuck McClanahan said the sign project is a great use of those funds.
“Anytime that we can bring more folks into Corsicana to see all the jewels we have here, the better,” McClanahan said. “They're going to come in and go to events, come in and go to the college, and they're going to buy gas and eat … I think advertising Corsicana at that location will work.”
In addition to the promotion of city events and attractions, the billboard will also be used to relay vital emergency information to travelers on the highway, said City Manager Connie Standridge.
“If we were in a hurricane evacuation or an Amber Alert, those types of messages are also a community service,” she said.
Councilman John McClung proposed the idea of the billboard to Standridge about three years ago. Monday's action will bring that idea to fruition, with a timetable that calls for the project to start displaying messages by June 30 — an aggressive deadline for vendors Corsicana Sign and Crane, who will install and maintain the sign, and Watchfire, the company that manufactures the sign and association software to run it.
McClung said based on traffic counts going past the sign location, even if it only attracts a tiny portion of the estimated 38 million cars that pass the sign location each year, the rewards to the city would be huge.
The city's Main Street office will be responsible for managing the operation of the sign, Standridge said, working with the Corsicana Convention and Visitor's Bureau to coordinate content.
CITY COUNCIL MEETING BRIEFS
Financial Report reviewed
A presentation on the city's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2013, was given to council by Danny Strunc of Yeldell, Wilson & Company, the firm engaged to produce the report. The firm issued an “unqualified” or “clean” report on the city's financial condition
Parks Department praised
Ralph Gonzalez thanked Parks and Recreation Department for the use of Bunert Park for a four county Tea Party rally held on Saturday, April 12.
Downtown ordinance change tabled
Council members discussed amending the city ordinance regarding boarded up windows and doors in downtown buildings to specify which windows (ground level or all windows) would be affected and a time limit for boarded up windows and doors, but tabled any action pending further study.
Fencing change OK'd
A change in the recently amended fencing requirements that will allow panel fencing on property that is zoned Light Industrial or Heavy Industrial (except where it is next to residential use property) was approved.
Fees moved from ordinances
In what was called a 'housekeeping' move, ordinances regulating carnivals and circuses, and recycling yard permits, were changed to move fee amounts to the Municipal Fee section of the city's codes.
Old Tax Zones rescinded
Outdated ordinances regarding expired Tax Reinvestment Zones were rescinded by council action, and going forward new zones will not be included in ordinance form.
Lighting bid awarded
Mitchell Electric was awarded a contract for $195,000 to install lighting at four baseball fields at the city's new baseball complex off North 45th Street. Funding for the project is being provided by the Navarro Community Foundation.
Revitalization credits granted
Some previously filed applications for Downtown Revitalization District Tax Credits were left off a list of projects that were approved by council on Feb. 24. The three properties were approved and tax credits totaling $1,858.71 were approved. Navarro County commissioners took similar action Monday at their meeting.
Landfill liners approved
Council approved the bid of Texas Environmental Plastics for the construction of a geosynthetic clay liner for $508,405.10.
New cellular lease approved
Council approved an addition to a lease for space on the city's water tower on West Sixth Avenue being used by ATT. The new lease allows for three additional antennae to be added, for a total of 12 in use on the tower. The city will receive $24,000 annually for the use of the space.
E-cigarette regulations discussed
Council members heard a presentation from Alvis Reeves of Impact NAVARRO regarding possible ordinances to regulate the sale and use of electronic cigarettes in Corsicana. Reeves said some Texas cities have banned the public use of the devices similar to bans that exist for tobacco cigarettes.
Banning the use in public places, and banning the sale of the devices to minors were two options discussed by council members, but no action was taken. Councilman Don Denbow said he felt the council needed to see more information from studies about the effects of electronic cigarettes before taking any action on them.
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