UNIVERSITY CITY, MO (KTVI) – If you did not know University City recently changed the look of its border signs, you might not immediately notice the difference, because the new ones are similar to the old.
And if a few members of the city council get their way, you may never have the chance to notice the change, because some believe it was made improperly.
“The process for the selection was flawed,” said Second Ward Council Member Paulette Carr, who ran on a platform of making sure the city follows its charter. Elected in April, she isthe newest member of the board.
Carr believes the mayor and city manager violated the charter by agreeing to a new city logo without asking the council to vote on the final product.
“Any policy decisions, and certainly an icon is a policy decision, are made by the council, the entire body, not by the mayor and the city manager,” Carr said.
On Monday night, a majority of the council agreed with her, voting to dump the new branding by a vote of 4 to 3.
The new signs and banners retain the classic lion logo, but add the slogan, “Neighborhood to the World.” The background colors have also been changed to green and blue to signify the city`s commitment to the environment, instead of the old signs which were black and gold, the school colors of University City High School.
The first signs and banners began going up about a month ago, but by Tuesday morning, some were already being taken down by city workers.
“You don’t re-brand by committee,” said Mayor Shelley Welsch, who voted to keep the new design.
Both she and City Manager Lehman Walker feel a vote on the new design was unnecessary because the council had already made the required policy decision when it passed the budget.
“I think that was set clearly by the previous council that approved $100,000 for marketing and PR, a chunk of which was used for building the brand platform of our community,” the mayor said.
The mayor also points out the new logo and slogan were unveiled in March, giving council members plenty of time to raise objections, but, according to the mayor, none did.
Many residents seem to like the signs.
“It looks just like the last ones so I can’t imagine why they are spending money to take it down,” said Cory Smallwood, calling the decision, ‘pretty ridiculous.’
Resident Stephanie Cross also says the new design looks good to her. When asked about the decision to take down the signs, she said, ‘(it) sounds expensive.’
The cost of printing the new border signs and pole banners along with the cost of developing their content was $39,000.
But the money has not been wasted, at least not yet.
Arthur Sharpe Jr., one of the four members who voted against the new logo, now is asking to have the question put before the council once again at its next meeting, June 25th.
Sharpe refused to do an interview to explain why.
But if he changes his ‘no’ vote to ‘yes,’ University City may end up going back to the future.
Still, Council member Carr insists dumping the new design, even if it costs money, is a matter of principal.
“I think compliance with our charter is more important. This will not be the first time that we have spent money foolishly or in an ill-advised manner,” she said, adding, “I hope it will be the last.”
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