Signs, signs, everywhere signsThe writing is on the wall - or at least that's what some Red Wing youth athletics proponents envision.
By: Mike Longaecker, The Republican Eagle
The writing is on the wall - or at least that's what some Red Wing youth athletics proponents envision.
Local governments may be turning to advertising in attempting to solve a funding problem at local athletic fields. A Joint Recreation Board recommendation could mean advertising signs going up on some ball field fences.
But Red Wing School Board member Mitch Boldt - who leads the joint recreation board - urged fellow board members not to wince too much at the possibility.
"Just to put everyone's mind at ease, we're not going Vegas," he said at the June 7 meeting.
Currently there are no advertisements on any local youth fields, which are jointly owned and operated by the city and the school district.
Community Recreation Coordinator Dave Borgen said rec board members turned to the idea as an alternative funding approach after others were rejected.
"The money's not going as far," he said. "They were frowning on increasing the user fees."
But ball fields, with a long tradition elsewhere of advertising on fences, provided a simple way to capture more revenue, Borgen said.
If approved, he hopes advertising can pump an additional $6,000 into maintenance costs. Borgen said the money would go toward field maintenance materials, not personnel.
Before the concept can grow legs, it must clear hurdles at the city, where signage and advertising is "pretty restrictive," Borgen said.
But City Council President and Joint Recreation Board member Mike Schultz said it might not be as hard as expected. He said an initial review of city ordinance appears the proposal "looks permissible."
He said the city will look to expand the policy and define what kind of advertising is admissible under the law.
"I think it has to be done tastefully, appropriately," Schultz said. "Everyone I've spoken to (in the business community) is sensitive to that."
Potential advertisers could include banks, restaurants and community organizations, Schultz said.
"Miller High Life ain't going to happen," he said of advertisers that would be turned away.
The concept marks the latest in non-traditional revenue sources the district has turned to.
Last year Red Wing High School held a professional wrestling event to raise funds for the FFA program.
"I think we're starting to see more and more of it," Supt. Stan Slessor said of unconventional funding streams. "I think it is the wave of the future for partnerships like these."
Though the issue is in its infancy, Boldt told board members it's likely to gain traction as field supporters look to fill the growing maintenance hole.
He and Schultz pointed to Prairie Island Ice Arena, where advertising is allowed, as an example of successful implementation of such signs.
Schultz said advertisements could go up next year if City Council adopts changes to the code.