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posted: 2/27/2013 4:52 PM

Carol Stream Park District to pursue own signs

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  • Now that the Carol Stream village board has rejected plans to alter existing signs at the Town Center, park district officials say they are going to be adding signs of their own near the new recreation center.

       Now that the Carol Stream village board has rejected plans to alter existing signs at the Town Center, park district officials say they are going to be adding signs of their own near the new recreation center.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer


Carol Stream Park District is developing signs to put near its new recreation center after the village board said it didn't want to share costs to alter existing signs at the site.

Park officials will meet with Williams Architects early next week to discuss the design for two possible signs -- a large one in front of the building that fronts Gary Avenue, and a smaller one near the Lies Road entrance, Arnie Biondo, park district executive director, said.

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That means there could be as many as four signs on the Town Center site, including the two identical 11-by-20-foot signs installed in 2004 that read "Ross Ferraro Town Center Carol Stream."

A 2011 intergovernmental agreement that provided for the village's $1.6 million sale of a portion of its Town Center property to the park district stated the two parties would work in good faith "with consideration being given to any monument signs being combined signs, as opposed to competing signs."

The village and park boards met last May to discuss plans for shared signage, and soon after split the $21,900 cost to hire Williams Architects to design the alterations.

But the process took a different turn earlier this month when the architect presented preliminary designs at a joint meeting of both boards -- along with an estimated price tag of as much as $420,000 for both signs. The park board initially favored splitting the cost, but then agreed to a 60-40 cost share.

"The suggestion at the village was you don't want to have sign pollution in the community. The idea was if there was a way to marry the two, then you do it," Biondo said. "But the cost to do that was going to be pretty high."

That's ultimately what led the village board to vote 4-1 last week to reject any of the suggested alterations, which proposed removing portions of the signs that include the name of the former village president. LED electronic messaging panels would have been put on the existing stone base and used to promote events at the Town Center.

One village trustee said removal of Ross Ferraro's name amounted to "a backhanded slap," while some park board members expressed frustration that the name of the district's new building, the Fountain View Recreation Center, wasn't going to be on the signs.

Biondo said the new park district signs will likely have the name of the recreation center, as well as LED boards.

"Without having to fit things to existing signs and bases, it gives us a little more flexibility and size and shape," he said.

And the cost to build new signs, Biondo said, is expected to be less than if changes were made to the existing signs.

"The direction that was given to the architects was, 'You need to look at having a similar design, but bringing it in at significantly less,'" he said.

There could at least be a five-figure cost savings because of the shorter distance needed to string electrical wires to the LED boards, he said.

The park board is expected to continue discussions on the signs at its March 11 meeting.

The $18 million, 90,846-square-foot recreation center is scheduled for a soft opening this summer and a grand opening over Labor Day weekend.

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