At times during the year, I will drive from my office on Post Rd into Wickford and see a large banner hanging high on the National Grid wires just outside the entrance to Centreville Bank and Wilson Park. This banner has a fantastic location, high above West Main St. with Centreville Bank on the right and town favorite Wilson Park on the left. The banner lets walkers, cyclists, and motorists know about upcoming events, such as the recent Wickford Art Festival. I have contacted several people with knowledge of the banner and have received some great responses and feedback. From what I have been able to gather, the banner is “put up for town events, non-profits, sports teams, etc. The Town (of North Kingstown) has always done this as a free service for these groups – first come first serve.” The facilities crew of the Town of North Kingstown takes care of putting up the signs, based on the few that I was in communication with. Soccer tournaments, the Lafayette Band, and other festivals have all been advertised on this banner placement over the years, just to name a few events.
Doing some research on banner placement ads on public and state roads, I found the following messages prominently in the rules and regulations for other towns and states across the country. “No banner may advertise for a business or promote an individual sale, or advertise any merchandise per MDOT rules.” “ABSOLUTELY NO sponsorship or business names will be allowed on any banners to be displayed.” Notice the bold in the second quotation. I am in the process of getting more information from the Town of North Kingstown on the specific regulations for banner advertising, specifically in that location. To my knowledge, the banner is used for town sponsored events which occur on town property – Wilson Park soccer tournaments, Wickford Art Festival in Wickford Village, Tree Lighting Ceremony in Wickford.
This year, I noticed on the Wickford Arts Festival banner that two sponsors were listed – Centreville Bank and Gooseneck Vineyards. I confirmed this with the staff of the Wickford Art Festival who mentioned that “yes we had both of their logos on the banner.” So, in theory, as long as a business is supporting a town sponsored event on town property, their logo should be allowed to be placed on that banner that spans Wilson Park and Centreville Bank.
Just a thought…If you are a North Kingstown business and you support, say, the NK Arts Council’s ArtVenture or the North Kingstown Food Pantry or a project to help raise money to revitalize North Kingstown’s town roads, parks, and beaches, I feel that your logo should be able to go on that banner that spans West Main St. from Centreville Bank to Wilson Park. Walkers, cyclists, and motorists should be able to see that your business proudly supports the efforts of North Kingstown’s programs to improve its roads and parks and facilities and programming. In fact, I would love to see banners put up in other locations on Post Rd, Boston Neck Rd, Ten Rod Rd. Placement of the banners on prominent North Kingstown roads where there is a ton of traffic to read them daily. Currently, there are many North Kingstown businesses that are doing their part to help these programs out and I feel that they should have recognition. The Town Council would retain the right to who is allowed on the banners. In addition, the Town Council or designated committee could monitor how the banner will look and read to make sure it is in compliance. A business could petition to be on the banner of the program or service they supported, and possibly gain approval by the Town Council similar to other town meeting procedures for licenses, etc. In addition, the Town of North Kingstown could elect to charge a fee to be placed on the banners, which could go directly to the program or service the business is supporting, or in other words, go to the Town of North Kingstown.
As I have from day 1 on the North Kingstown Blog, I am committed to helping the business community here in North Kingstown. This editorial is solely my opinion and how I feel the Town of North Kingstown could improve on promoting its businesses, especially those who have supported the Town of North Kingstown over the years.
What do you think?