St. Joseph DDA to look into replacing banners

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

ST. JOSEPH — Out of the 18 banners that hang among various posts in downtown St. Joseph, about a dozen need to be replaced.

At the St. Joseph Downtown Development Authority board meeting Thursday, members discussed allocating funding for getting new banners as part of its budget.

“We’re in an area where the winds are high and inclement weather isn’t out of the ordinary,” DDA Director Susan Solon said. “These high winds destroy our banners quicker than we’d like.”

As a result, it’s become a choice between repairing the banners or not putting them up.

The DDA does pay for the banners, and has done so about three times during the last 10 years, Solon said. The board asked Solon to get quotes for new banners in time for next month’s meeting.

Board member Debbie Sailor, owner of the Jimmy John’s in St. Joseph, said she liked what Stevensville did with its banners.

“For most of the year, the banners in downtown (Stevensville) are pictures of high school athletes, which the athletic department and the parents pay for,” Sailor said. “They’re great to look at, it’s a fun way to support students and the banners are essentially paid for.”

Shuttling forward

DDA members discussed adjusting the shuttle service during the peak tourist season as a way to alleviate the traffic that comes through downtown in the spring and summer.

With more than 70 events occurring in downtown St. Joseph each year, the city has discussed increasing safety for residents and retailers.

“We met with the Krasl Art Fair. It’s a wonderful event. It brings in the right people, but it closes our streets for up to three or four days,” Solon said. “We are trying to decrease – not eliminate – but decrease the congestion in our downtown. One of those ways is keeping Lake Boulevard open as often as we can.”

In order to do so, the Krasl Art Fair’s organizers asked for the city to partner with them on the shuttle service. They have shuttle service stops from St. Joseph High School, Edgewater and Hilliard Lyons on State Street.

Sailor asked board members whether they wanted her to submit a request for proposal on expanding the shuttle service.

Sailor said it would take three to four years until the public became fully aware of any changes, which meant it would cost more to market the change than the service itself.

Board members didn’t lean one way or the other, but told Sailor that if a change was going to be made, the city and the DDA would have to make it more than just a one-year commitment.

The next board meeting is at 8:30 p.m. on March 16.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@TheHP.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Feb. 24, 2017)

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