Electronic sign proposed for senior center

Blaine City Council listens to a staff presentation during a regular meeting on October 9. From l., Meg Olson, Bonnie Onyon, Harry Robinson, Mary Lou Steward and Paul Greenough. Not pictured: Charlie Hawkins and Steve Lawrenson. Photo by Stefanie Donahue.

By Stefanie Donahue

Blaine City Council tabled discussion about an electronic sign for the H Street community center after listening to residents’ concerns about the potential price, use and safety impacts of the project during a public hearing on October 9.

The proposed 9-12 foot electronic video display sign would be located at the Blaine community and senior center on H Street. Since the sign is electronic, approval is required from the Blaine City Council, which extended the public hearing to the next regular meeting on Monday, October 23. At that time, they can vote on whether to approve the project.

A preliminary design of the electronic sign proposed for H Street.

The sign would display event information and community service messages. In August, the city council approved a mid-year budget adjustment, which allocated $20,000 for the sign, per the request of the city manager’s office. A sign that could be manually adjusted, for example, would cost about $7,000, said Blaine community and development tourism coordinator Debbie Harger.

During the public hearing, a handful of residents came forward to express concern, including Alicia Rule, a candidate for Blaine City Council.

“The sign is necessary because we need to be an inclusive community,” she said. “I think we could do it in a less expensive and more attractive way.”

Others questioned the necessity of an electronic sign as well as its potential to distract drivers.

Blaine city councilmember Meg Olson stated the proposal was unclear and requested more detail from city staff about the intended use for the sign. Councilmember Paul Greenough expressed similar concerns, asking, “Why should we pay for the capability if we have no intention of using it?”

Blaine Public Works director Ravyn Whitewolf responded, explaining that the project aims to improve communication with the public.

“The intent of it was to be as flexible as possible,” she said.

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