Parkland: No free bike path signage

Communities elsewhere in the country are using it, but Parkland officials have turned down a free bike path signage program offered by a private organization.

Bikepath Country, a national organization that specializes in sponsorship programs of trails and greenways, recently evinced interest in bike path mapping the city’s multi-use trails with eco-friendly signage that is geo-tagged via GPS. The organization also offered to provide first aid kits, air pumps and bike repair stations along the trails.

The project, which would provide sponsorship opportunities for businesses, would cost the city nothing, Ivan Bellotto, organization representative, told officials. “The city will also receive 20 percent of any positive net profit from scholarships. We will create a revenue stream for the city and create a sponsorship program that is tailored to the community’s needs,” he said.

The organization has its presence in Westchester County in New York and has signed a contract with Pinellas County for the installation of 27 signs, Bellotto said. A typical contract with a sponsor would be for three to five years. The organization was willing to do a free assessment of the city’s trails, he added.

Some of the officials liked the idea but did not think it would be a good fit for the city. Commissioner Mark Weissman, who made a motion to table the matter, however, was against the city inking a deal with the organization.

“We can do this on our own,” he said. “We can do it without advertising directly to our residents. If we need to enhance our signs along the trails, we can purchase them.”

Mayor Michael Udine liked the idea but wasn’t sure the organization would be able to make the proposed project a success. “I think this is a cool thing,” he said. “The biking community, of which we have a lot, will like this a lot, but I don’t know if you will be able to do it.”

“How many miles of trails do we have that is not in the public right of way,” Commissioner Dave Rosenof asked. “It is not much. I don’t know if it (the program) is a fit. We already have signs on most of the trails.”

Vice Mayor Christine Hunschofsky had her doubts, as well. “How does this fit with our sign code with having sponsorships on signs? We did our sign code recently,” she said. “Do we now want to re-do our sign code for this?”

Policy on liquor sales: City officials recently told staff that they were not in favor of changing the city’s policy related to the sale of liquor on city property. The city allows sale of liquor during special events if the organizers have a temporary liquor license and insurance.

“I certainly do not want to expand this,” Udine said. “When we do a city event, I don’t want to see us have liquor there. It is not the right message.”

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