by Laura Bednar
April 11 city council meeting
New signage throughout city facilities on Selig Drive and along the business corridor of Rockside Road will be installed this year as part of Independence’s new wayfinding program after city council voted to pay Guide Studio $30,000 for developing the first phase of the signage implementation.
The plan includes signage along what Guide Studio representative Cathy Fromet called the “community campus,” which is the area on Selig Drive encompassing City Hall, Civic Center and Elmwood Park. The signs would incorporate brick and aluminum panels, replacing white post and panel signs.
The second part of phase 1, which Fromet outlined at an April 4 council workshop, is to replace banners along Rockside Road, utilizing existing hardware. The banners would welcome people to the city and incorporate its logo. They would be color-coded as part of a plan to divide the city into quadrants for easy navigation.
“In the conversations that I have had with our business community, they have trouble getting their customers to the building, and this is a way of helping ease that because not everyone relies on their phone,” said Economic Development Director Jessica Hyser.
Councilperson Anthony Togliatti expressed concerns over the project cost after adding in prices for building materials and labor beyond initial development. “I see it as a continuously growing expense,” he said. “I don’t understand exactly where we are going to stop with it.”
Councilperson Tom Narduzzi said he felt the same way, but after rethinking saw the value in the signage. “It’s a business, and you have to spend money to promote your business,” he said.
“I think my biggest concern is the end-all, be-all cost,” said councilperson Chris Walchanowicz. “Where is our plateau?”
Hyser estimated it would cost $250,000 per year for the next couple of years to implement the project as a whole.
Councilperson Dale Veverka said he was concerned about signage changes occurring in residential areas, and it should be limited to commercial areas. Councilperson Jim Trakas agreed. Hyser said phase 1 is limited to Rockside banners and the community campus. There are currently no plans for phase 2.
The payment to Guide Studio was approved 5-2 with Togliatti and Veverka dissenting. Hyser said the hope was to hang the new banners by late May or early June.
The city purchased 25 GETAC body-worn camera systems with accessories for the police department for $56,231. The price includes two years of Cloud data storage, video license and camera maintenance.
Police Chief Robert Butler said the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services will reimburse the department for its purchase. Togliatti asked if the cameras constantly operate. Butler said yes, but they only record and store data when an officer pushes an activation button. All body cameras are paired with dash cameras in police vehicles, so if either camera is turned on, the other automatically turns on, as well.
The city approved contracts for $50,000 each with the following engineering firms for general construction engineering and inspection services: ACM Construction Management, Environmental Design Group, Quality Control Inspection, Greenman-Pederson, CT Consultants and DLZ.
The service department purchased a leaf vacuum for $74,301, two rotary 12,000-pound vehicle lifts for $15,180 and two salt spreader boxes for $237,481. The salt spreader boxes and leaf vacuum were budgeted in the city’s five-year capital plan. ∞