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Board asks staff to shop for new Bob Ruud signage

It remains to be seen whether the Bob Ruud Community Center marquee will be replaced with a new digital design later this year.

Board members voted to direct town staff to look into whether the proposal will be financially feasible for the town.

Reasons for upgrading the 60s era signage range from the ability to post road warnings in times of bad weather to informing the community of upcoming events within the town.

Town Board Chairman Harley Kulkin on Tuesday stated to board members and staff, that determining a workable cost for the project is the most important aspect for the proposal.

“I don’t even know what the cost will be. Is it $5,000, $2,000 or $20,000? Once we get a number, we can go out and see if we can get some help,” he said.

According to Town Manager Holecheck, the project could run as much as $150,000.

Always frugal board member Amy Riches told the room that she is not in favor of the item.

“When I first saw this, I thought my God, what are these people doing? Sitting around thinking about different ways to spend money?” she asked.

Riches went on to enumerate her reasons why she would not support the proposed signage at the corner of Basin and Highway 160.

“If it’s a digital sign, I’m afraid It might be very distracting for me and I’m afraid I might be trying to read that or someone behind me trying to read it and plow right into me. I have a real problem with a digital sign for safety reasons. I don’t want to spend the money on it for that very reason,” she said.

Town Board Vice Chair Bill Dolan retorted that when driving around town just about anything can be a potential distraction to motorists in the valley.

“As far as Ms. Riches’ comments, you can be distracted if somebody is reading the signs now. We have multiple reader boards up and down 160 and 372. I can’t remember ever reading in our newspapers that an accident was caused because somebody was reading a reader board. It doesn’t hurt to get the RFP (Request For Proposal) and it least we know where we stand on costs,” he said.

Kulkin, meanwhile, told the board he thought the preliminary cost estimates seemed a bit inflated.

“Sonic Burger has one and I can’t imagine they would spend more than $100,000 for their sign. It could be a goal we accomplish real soon depending on the price, or it might be something down the line but at least we will know what our goal is,” he said.

Town Manager Susan Holecheck noted that there are several different options the board can use to determine the best course of action on the matter.

“An RFP is going to be costly and I’m not sure if we know the parameters to include in the RFP. I’m not sure if we are set up to bring power to that site. We don’t know how many pixels we want, which is probably important and we also have issues with the county and NDOT. As an alternative, rather than go through the expense of an RFP, if you want to just direct staff or me to work buildings and grounds and others to come back and bring you a little bit more realistic idea of what we are thinking in terms of what we want to spend if that’s your desire,” she said.

In the end, board members opted for Holecheck’s suggestion by allowing staff to research the issue and revisit the item during a future board meeting.