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A corner of Lake Avenue in Racine will get a little brighter with the addition of an electronic message sign (EMS) on the southwest corner of the city owned municipal garage that takes up most of the block south of 5th Avenue.

Approved by the Racine Common Council Tuesday evening, the city’s signage contractor, Michael’s Signs Inc. will replace a current changeable-letter sign.
The electronic message signage will be 55 square feet, exceeding the city’s current maximum of 50 square feet. The electronic message center portion of the sign will replace the existing changeable copy portion in the signage already installed on the property.

According to notes from City staff: “The property will continue to function as a parking facility for the Civic Centre and this signage will not change the current operations on the parcel. The operational requirements … will ensure this signage functions in a way which is not detrimental to passersby.

“The signage is overall, a very small portion of the property from a square footage perspective, but plays an important part of communicating information to the public. The message changes and transitions have the ability to impact passersby in a distracting way if not operated in a manner which is in compliance with the recommended conditions.

“The conditional use will not be injurious to the use and enjoyment of other property in the immediate vicinity for the purposes already permitted, nor substantially diminish and impair property values within the neighborhood. Staff Comments: The location of the existing signage on the property coupled with the pattern of street traffic, is such that signage is only visible from two sides by passing automobiles. Pedestrians and other passersby and viewers from adjacent properties will have a view of the signage, but likely at the street level only.”

As the sign is located a block away from any housing areas, it should not have a negative night-time impact on residents, City staff suggested.

Staff added: “The land uses in this area are less active and generally focus on vehicular modes of travel; to the north of the sign on both the east and west sides of Lake Avenue are parking ramp entrances and to the south is a landscaped parkway. The installation of this EMS will not impede the development patterns of the area or prevent their orderly continuance.”

Rex Davenport

Rex Davenport is a reporter, editor and editorial project manager with more than 40 years of experience in newspaper, business magazines and other content channels.