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Front St. banners on their way down

Tacky. Trashy. Negative.

Community banners that have flown at the north end of Front Street didn’t receive the highest praise from Bill Austin this week. The local sign maker has been looking for a new home for the advertisements for more than a year without making much headway.

Although such advertisements now fly on Austin’s property, near Front’s intersection with Lindvig Way and Bond Road, a Wednesday night discussion with city council could get Poulsbo out of the banner business for good.

Initially, Parks and Recreation Director Mary McCluskey presented council a list of proposed sites for the cross-street banners; including along Front Street between Torval Canyon and Jensen Way; on Hostmark Street; 7th Avenue; and Viking Avenue but, unable to come to a decision on the matter and unwilling to continue to post the potential commercial-related advertisements, the group opted not to raise new banner poles on city property.

Austin’s offer to make a new community sign billboard, much like the existing structure at Poulsbo Market Thriftway, instead of continuing to fly banners quickly swayed the council and city resident Muriel Williams — all of whom raised their hands and said “aye” to the suggestion.

The decision followed an in-depth discussion on the existing banner poles, which have been causing problems for motorists and the aesthetic beauty of Front Street’s north end for some time now.

“You’d better be paying attention to cars at Liberty Bay Auto,” Councilman Mike Regis said, noting that a potential accident loomed at the intersection where “there is already a lot going on.”

Regis said putting the banner on Front Street up the hill made sense because motorists didn’t have to avert their eyes from the road too much.

“When you’re driving up the hill you’re already looking up the hill,” he explained.

Driving problems aside, City Councilwoman Jackie Aitchison had another — more blunt — view of the banners while she gave her “5 cents” on the topic.

“I personally think they’re clutter,” Aitchison remarked, noting that virtually every community event in North Kitsap was already posted in the newspaper. “I don’t think they’re necessary at all.”

After calling the banners “trashy,” Austin, unloaded on the signs, adding, “Psychologically, they’re negative. They’re tacky.”

Councilwoman Kathryn Quade disagreed though and pointed out that she felt the banners were a nice way to advertise for community events.

That is until, McCluskey said that if the signs were posted in the city right-of-way, Poulsbo could be legally forced to advertise much more. In fact, the city would have to fly everything from commercials to unseemly events, provided the applicant paid the nominal fee.

“I don’t see why we’d want to be in the business of advertising,” Councilman Dale Rudolph said. The council concurred and Austin said he would set to work on making a special community event sign for Poulsbo’s west side.

After hearing the unanimous decision, Austin remarked under his breath, “This is what you do when you retire — you work your tail off.”

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