BRADENTON -- Sign, sign, everywhere a sign; Lakewood Ranch Little League (LRLL) says they call the commercial advertisements lifelines because they are so important to the organization's survival. For more than six months, LRLL has been in violation of Manatee County's sign policies, but claims that they will have to close the doors within two years if their advertisers go elsewhere. The county says it's a safety issue and that the signs present additional liabilities. Both parties were able to agree to a temporary fix and said they would revisit the issue.
LRLL President David Dees presented one reason after another why the organization he represents should be allowed to continue using signs that didn't meet code. He said, "We only want to generate revenue," adding, "the boys can't play baseball, if we can't pay the bills."
Parks and Recreation Director, Cindy Turner, said, "It's a safety issue." She pointed out the half inch extension of the bolt that points back to the infield when attached to the fence. Turner said, "Someone could run into that and cut themselves." Turner concluded with, "We recommend we continue with our current policy (Manatee County Municode 2-24-8)"
Other ballfields use a "banner" style advertisement, attached to the fence with ties. The LRLL group that showed up at Tuesday's meeting, in support of the rigid forbidden signs, brought with them, a section of fence with one of the signs they're using attached to it (pictured right).
Commissioner Whitmore said, "Why, when you know -- I can't believe we've allowed it." She then added, "Who's responsible if someone gets hurt? We are, if we allow it. We would have to do the same for everyone."
Whitmore was referring to having to change the sign code for all ballfields, if LRLL's fields remained as is, and commissioners made it clear that wasn't going to happen.
David Dees agreed to fix the fasteners right away and the county agreed to meet with LRLL representatives and modify whatever it takes to "find middle ground," ASAP. -- Approved, Unanimous
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