Hallandale hesitates on $300,000 marquee welcome sign
Commission wants to know what rest of signs throughout city will cost
By Susannah Bryan, Sun Sentinel - January 23, 2014
HALLANDALE BEACH — It will be a show stopper, a bold and snazzy marquee sign alerting everyone they have arrived in the one and only Hallandale Beach.
But for now, it's on hold.
On Wednesday, commissioners debated the merits of tearing down an old concrete marker that sits on the southeast corner of Interstate 95 and Hallandale Beach Boulevard and replacing it with a more elaborate welcome sign that would be illuminated at night and visible to drivers passing by on Interstate 95.
The new sign would cost an estimated $293,000 — a bargain compared with initial estimates of $500,000.
In the end, commissioners decided to wait on the new sign until they know what other directional signs being planned throughout the city will cost. The city has budgeted more than $700,000 for the entire sign program.
Mayor Joy Cooper urged commissioners to approve the new sign, saying it reflects the city's new vibrant image.
"This isn't just about a price tag," Cooper said of the sign, which was to be in place by August. "This is about a vision and moving forward. I think the statement the sign will make will send a message to people who are visiting and people who are considering to invest. Look at Hollywood. Look at Aventura. Look at what they've done with their right of ways. Please do not shortchange our city."
Resident Bob Selz wasn't sold.
He asked whether it was a smart use of taxpayer money to put up a new sign instead of sprucing up the one that's already in place.
"This reminds me of the guy who didn't like the color of his house so he burned it down," he said.
Commissioner William Julian said he'd rather refurbish the old sign and save the city a few bucks.
"I don't see it crumbling," Julian said. "I don't see it cracked. I was told the sign is structurally sound. To me, that's good enough."
Commissioner Michele Lazarow said she caught a lot of "grief" after residents learned the city was planning to spend up to half a million dollars on a new sign.
"I got some angry emails," Lazarow said. "People were not happy."
On the flip side, she said the current sign is dated and needs replacing. But she prefers to know what the other signs will cost before moving forward.
"I don't know how many signs we're doing," she said. "We don't have a plan. I want that [new] sign. I love it. I think it's beautiful. I think it would be great for our city. I just want to know what the comprehensive plan is."
Commissioners are expected to revisit the issue as soon as next month.
400 South Federal Highway
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