The Williams City Council last week agreed to spend up to $100,000 on two electronic monument signs for both the east and west side of Interstate 5.
Each brick monument will be about 14 feet wide and nine feet high, and will feature a digital billboard to advertise community events, much as the mobile trailer in downtown Williams has done for a number of years.
“This is a project city staff has considered for six months or so,” said City Administrator Frank Kennedy.
Each sign, controlled by remote access, would be capable of showing text, photographs, graphics, animation, videos, time, temperature, dates, etc.
“This is just an example of what this sign can do,” said Ben Williamsom, of Kentucky-based Golden Rule Signs, in a video presentation to the City Council on Sept. 18. “The sky’s the limit on what it can do to increase involvement in community events.”
The monument’s total height also includes a topper made of steel tubing that replicates Williams’ historic E Street arch.
The City Council voted 5-0 to place one monument sign on the public utility easement west of Taco Bell on East Street, west of Vann Street, and one in Williams Town Square, at the corner of Seventh and E streets.
The City Council selected Golden Rule’s bid of $39,000 for each one-sided sign, although they authorized Kennedy to spend up to $50,000 on each monument to make slight changes to the design, including adding pillar lamps on each side that resemble the finials on the Williams arch.
Kennedy said the funding would come from developer impact fees.
While the eastside monument will be installed on a large bare lot, the more controversial westside monument will be located diagonally across the corner of the Town Square park – less than one block away from the historic arch.
Mayor Alfred Sellers, Jr. said an electronic monument sign was a good idea for Town Square, but felt the sheer size of the structure would lesson the visibility of the park and mural.
He also said Town Square was too close to the original Williams arch for the repetition in style to make sense.
“We have an arch when you enter the city,” Sellers said. “It’s a huge, real noticeable arch. It’s nice, but one block down we’ll move into another huge arch. I was thinking a sign less huge in the park.”
Sellers said he preferred a second option, which was a brick monument roughly 14×6 feet, with a natural curve built in. The sign would be eight feet at its highest point in the center.
Williams residents Haley Apaseo and Kent Boes also preferred the smaller option for Town Square, and were the only members of the Williams public present to speak on the issue.
“I don’t like the arch,” Apaseo. “You already have an arch in front of it, and everything has arches.”
Boes said a replica of the arch on an already-large monument sign would be too much for the small park, and that distractions, also, could cause accidents in the intersection.
Kennedy and the remaining council members, however, said the city has made the incorporation of the historic arch the standard for business development, and believe the city should remain consistent in all new designs and in branding the town.
“I don’t think we can have too many arches in town,” Kennedy said. “It’s what we’re known for.” ■