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Digital sign to move downtown

Posted on 10/25/2016, 10:11 AM

Citing safety concerns, Benton city officials have found an alternate location for their digital sign near the Benton Fire Department

Commissioner Dennis Miller had suggested moving the sign to the new city hall location on South Main Street. Casting the deciding vote, Mayor Fred Kondritz voted against that site.

Miller and Ronnie Baumgarte voted in favor of that location. Donnie Wyant, Don Storey and the mayor voted against it.

The mayor"s deciding vote was cast after considering an opinion from Chief of Police Kyle Melvin, who expressed concern about the 40 mph speed limit along Illinois 37. He said might become distracted by the sign.

Kondritz then made a recommendation the sign be placed at the intersection of Washington and Maple streets, near the Benton Fire Department. That spot was approved, with Miller casting the lone dissenting vote.

Meanwhile, Kondritz directed Airport Authority members Tom Carter, Rocky Morris and Miller to organize an event at the Benton Airport for the solar eclipse event next August. In a previous meeting, Carbondale Tourism Bureau director Cinnamon Smith made a presentation on the event.

"This is an opportunity at the airport to make available for campers, perhaps with entertainment, a 'Little Woodstock' if you will," Kondritz said.

"There is some legal question about whether there is a legal contract for farm ground at the airport," he said. "We don"t need a cornfield when we can have economic development (in that area). I want it to be vacated and not used as farm land."

Morris told the council the Airport Authority has estimated it can accommodate up to 150 airplanes at the airport for the solar eclipse . He added the board would check with the Federal Aviation Authority regarding the distance that spectators would have to be placed from the airport"s runways.

The council went into executive session shortly after 7 p.m. to discuss personnel.

In a lighter moment, commissioners and the audience sang Happy Birthday to Mayor Kondritz.

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