FORT MYERS, Fla.- Battered banners are becoming a problem along Fort Myers' three major roads. In late 2010, business taxes were used to purchase more than 200 banners advertising city attractions.
In just two years, the banners are faded and tattered. Some of them were even torn down during Tropical Storm Debby. The problem is, a guarantee from the company that installed the banners has expired, so the city could be left holding the bag.
"We're looking into it with the company that supplied the brackets and the banners to see if it was a bracket failure or if the wind exceeded the load requirements for the banner," Don Paight, Director of the Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency said.
The city could be faced with a few thousand dollars to replace damaged banners.
"We want to continue the program, but if it costs too much to replace them. We'll just move some of the banners in from the ends of the roadway to fill in the gaps," Paight said.
Skip Mufalli, who owns Toot's Dollar Store downtown is a business owner who helped pay for the banners.
"The banners are looking old. They're looking worn. They need to be freshened up. I thought they were supposed to replace them when they got damaged," Mufalli said.
Others who work downtown say the dilapidated signs are confusing.
"I saw one for the Cleveland district. I don't even know where that is," Thomas Cobb said.
The CRA is already working on a new sign program that would direct drivers from I-75.
"What we're trying to do next is called way-finding and that's a series of signs that will lead you in from the interstate exits into Fort Myers and identify where the River District is," Paight said.
Plans have already been drawn for the way-finding signs, but they have to be approved by the state and budgeted for.
Paight plans to meet with downtown merchants to guage their interest in an ad co-op program to include the new signs, which could cost between $50,000 and $150,000.