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Motion sign a possibility, but not a priority, city manager says

By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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The city of Auburn is still reviewing the possibility of having an electronic motion sign within its limits. On Feb. 14 the Auburn City Council, acting as the Auburn Urban Development Authority allocated $60,000 in redevelopment funds to possible LED sign, but only if City Manager Bob Richardson found it to be a feasible idea. “My job is to work with the folks who have made this request to look at the pros and cons of different locations for the sign itself and its implications,” Richardson said Thursday. Although the original discussion had been to replace the static sign at the Maple Street exit off Interstate 80, that idea was tabled at the Feb. 14 meeting. Discussions on possible locations were focused on a piece of city property at the end of Reamer Street in Downtown Auburn. Richardson said the city is also looking at some private property and property outside of the redevelopment project area, both along the freeway. “(Reamer Street) is not the most likely location,” he said. “It is one being looked at. We still have a good amount of due diligence left.” Richardson said once information is gathered, city staff will bring it back to the council, possibly toward the end of March. The council will then be given the job of deciding if the sign is the best way to use some of its redevelopment funds, where the sign would be located and how it would be used, Richardson said. Richardson also said the city has had discussion with Caltrans about the potential sign, and the agency did not respond negatively. “That does not sound like it’s going to be a huge hurdle,” Richardson said. Richardson said the sign is not the highest priority on the redevelopment agenda as the city works to spend the funds before any possible state freeze of the monies. The city is working to move forward on Streetscape Phase 2, a renovation to the Old City Hall and the Old Town Fire Station renovation, Richardson said. “(The sign) is one of the last ones in the queue,” Richardson said. In a letter to the Journal, Auburn resident Naomi Eggenschweiler said she thinks the sign would be too flashy and would ruin the city’s historic charm. “City Council members, please don’t replicate the Roseville Auto Mall experience for us, and don’t turn our historic foothill town into a Disney World Tomorrowland, or a miniature Las Vegas,” Eggenschweiler said. “That LED billboard doesn’t quite go with our local heritage, does it?” Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com