For years, non-profit organizations like the Johnston Community Center Association (JCCA) had only one source of advertising for upcoming events.
However, the 4-by-4 wooden signs that the JCCA and many similar groups would place in front of Johnston Town Hall often became beaten by the weather.
Moreover, some people complained that the signs cluttered the entrance to the building and detracted from its historic beauty.
So when plans were finalized to give Town Hall its recent and much-needed facelift, Mayor Joseph Polisena decided to do away with those signs – forever – just like he ordered done with the decayed and rotted trees, seemingly ageless clock and former welcome sign.
“That foolish clock never worked,” Polisena said earlier this week while discussing the recent facelift that has drawn rave reviews from Johnstonians and the thousands of people who drive their cars past the building every week. “We removed those trees because they were rotted just like the old sign, and that didn’t look presentable and was falling down.”
Polisena said he wanted a “new and exciting look for the town to complement the facelift of Town Hall,” which included a maintenance-free Rhino shield on the building’s exterior, new flagpoles, brand new steps at the front door and an impressive welcome sign that includes an electronic digital message board.
“We’re already received all kinds of rave reviews about the new sign,” the mayor said. “More importantly, it has already served its purpose, especially during the recent snowstorms, by informing people of the parking bans as well as things like trash pickup will be a day later.”
The town purchased the new sign and digital message board from Baris Sign Company, which was the lowest bidder and is an official dealer of the highly regarded Daktronics digital board. The Pawtucket company also installed the sign and digital message board at the Johnston Senior Center.
Polisena said the digital message board gives the time and temperature. There are restrictions as to what groups can actually use the sign to promote.
“We will not allow political, commercial or religious messages,” the mayor said. “There’s also a procedure that groups must follow in order to use the sign.”
It’s called a “request for electronic sign message,” and must include date of request, the person or group leader’s name and time period that the message should run.
“We have a special form available for sports teams, etc. in our town,” Polisena said.
People who want to use the sign should go to Town Hall and get the form from Town Clerk Vincent P. Baccari Jr., who will manage messages for the sign by computer.
Also, residents should be advised that all requests will be subject to approval by the mayor. All requests must be submitted at least seven days prior to advertising a certain event.
Polisena, in fact, selected the design and colors for the two-sided sign that can be seen from all points at the always-bustling intersection of Atwood and Hartford avenues.
“The sign, I’ve been told, enhances the new look we’ve created for Town Hall,” the mayor said. “It reduces sign pollution, and people are saying it’s really appealing to their eyes. This was an investment that was all about maintenance and will make Johnstonians proud of their Town Hall.”