The new LED sign in front of City Hall went live on Sept. 1. Workers installed the last of five citywide LED signs in front of Park Station on Oct. 11.
PINELLAS PARK – On Thursday, Oct. 11, workers installed the final two LED signs purchased by the city earlier this year outside Park Station and by England Brothers Park.
Five signs total were installed over the past two months: one each at the 49th Street and 78th Street entrances to the Performing Arts Center (PAC) and one in front of City Hall, in addition to the signs at the park and on Park Boulevard outside Park Station. The signs by City Hall and the PAC 49th Street entrance were installed at the end of August and turned on Sept. 1, while the sign at the 78th Street entrance went online two weeks ago. The sign by the park was turned on the day following its installation, and the one outside Park Station went online Wednesday, Oct. 17.
The purpose of these signs is two-fold, said Tim Caddell, spokesman for the city. Not only was the City Council looking for an effective way to quickly and easily convey pertinent information to residents, but it also wanted to create a more uniform appearance for municipal buildings. “They’re designed to give identity to the downtown area and city buildings,” he said.
Each pylon sign includes a full-color LED reader board below the name of the structure, its address, and city logo. The boards will be updated remotely with event and other important information, including storm updates and job openings with the city. The signs’ design incorporates architectural features from Park Station, with matching decorative steel trim and columns mimicking those of the building.
Local business Thomas Sign and Awning Company, with a bid of $176,659 for four signs – under the city’s projected costs for the new signage – was awarded the project in April. The total cost for all five signs was $212,965, said Caddell. The initial plan was to install only four LED signs, but since the bid came in well under plan, the council decided to order an additional sign for the second PAC entrance since the money was already allocated to the project.
The need for enhanced signage was recognized by the city as many as eight years ago, Caddell said, when tenants first moved into Park Station. The original sign was small and difficult to read, “so small that nobody really saw it when they went by.”
The city already had two tower LED signs, at the intersection of Park Boulevard and 49th Street, and in front of Park Station. And since they’re on major thoroughfares, information posted on them tends to be community based, rather than from the city itself. They each typically run 20 to 30 messages a day, for 20 seconds each time. “We get so many requests for them, that a lot of information gets lost up there,” Caddell said. The new signs are lower to the ground, easier to read, and provide city information specific to each location.
Caddell also recalled a not-so-distant past when the PAC didn’t have anything out front – “literally, no sign.” Instead, the city would use a plywood sign, and for specific events, banners would have to be ordered from local sign shops. “Now, we’ll be able to sit here in our offices and send information out to all of the signs,” he said. “It doesn’t cost a thing to change it or the manpower of putting them up and taking them down. Over time, they’ll more than pay for themselves.”
So far the feedback has been nothing but positive. “We even had one person who told us they didn’t even know it was City Hall until the sign was put out front,” Caddell said.