Note: This story was reported and written in 2017.
By Ashley Loaeza
PLEASANT HILL — The Pleasant Hill City Council has approved the purchase and installation of an LED sign at City Hall.
During their Nov. 20 meeting, councilmembers authorized the city manager to enter into a contract with Sunny Neon Signs to install the LED display in front of City Hall.
Kelly Calhoun, the city’s economic development manager, presented a report to the mayor and councilmembers that highlighted the purpose and benefits of such a sign. In her report, she explained that the LED sign at City Hall would display information on public meetings such as those of the Planning Commission and City Council.
It would also display information on city-sponsored community events, community messaging in the event of an emergency and information on how to access televised public meetings. Sunny Neon Signs submitted the best bid, Calhoun said.
The sign would utilize Versa Net Software via a WiFi bridge to allow for easy access by staff to quickly change the messaging on the sign.
During the public comment period, a few people expressed concern over the potential sign and how its constant scrolling of messages would prove distracting and perhaps even an eyesore because of its proximity to City Hall.
“It makes the city look like a stadium or a liquor store,” Wendy Gallop said. “It doesn’t look appropriate for the front of the city.”
She and others voiced concern over the price of the sign, which is estimated at $37,000.
Alan Bade was concerned about the sign’s brightness at night, especially if additional signs are added in the future. He said that these types of messaging signs ought to be as discreet as possible.
However, Mayor Michael Harris said, “It would give an opportunity for us to continually have notice information for our residents on city activities as well as city meetings and any special events. I’ve seen these LED signs at other cities. They’re very helpful in finding out what’s going on in the city.”
Some residents were concerned about the placement of the sign and suggested that it would be better on Contra Costa Boulevard, where there is more traffic and where it will be more visible than at City Hall.
But Councilmember Sue Noack countered with, “A lot of that traffic is through traffic and not necessarily local traffic. (City Hall) is a good location for local traffic, which is what we are shooting for, as far as communicating events and activities. It would give an opportunity for us to continually have notice information for our residents on city activities as well as city meetings and any special events. “
Calhoun added that putting an LED sign on Contra Costa Boulevard wasn’t practical. In fact, the decision to place the sign in City Hall’s location on Gregory Lane was based on the availability of power there and the visibility of the sign from a four-way intersection, Calhoun said.
The mayor and councilmembers voted in favor of the LED sign, except for councilmember Tim Flaherty, who was absent. The sign is scheduled to be installed in January.