Banners Coming Down After Fayetteville Street Reopening
Posted August 4, 2006 10:37 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — Just like in the early 1900s, banners were a big part of Raleigh Wide Open.
"People spend a lot of money and are trying to send a message that downtown is a great place to be," said business owner Greg Hatem.
Some of those banners are still up a week after the street's reopening celebration. Others have been taken down by order of the city, because they are illegal under city code.
Hatem got the call to remove his banner.
"I felt like it wasn't keeping with the spirit of what we are trying to do down here," he said. "We just had this big party and it's not just a one-day event; we are trying to establish this as a place to come."
Hatem said he feels like banners can continue the excitement. After all, people will be taking their first rides down Fayetteville Street for weeks to come.
Some signs did more than welcome visitors; they advertised restaurants that are coming soon. The new Mint complied by moving its banner from outside to inside.
City officials said taking the banners down is the only fair thing to do. Leaders said whether businesses are on Fayetteville Street or Hargett Street, they should be treated the same.
The city did not fine any business for hanging a banner without a permit. Also, leaders pointed out an exception was made for the celebration.
"The city did try to accommodate something unusual without acquiring permits, and we extended it almost a week for that to happen," said Raleigh City Manager Russell Allen.
If businesses want to hang a sign, they can do what Capital Bank did. The company bought a special events permit for the banner to fly for 30 days. By city ordinance, businesses can get that permit only two times in their lifetime.