Scoreboard sign coming down
ASPEN The Aspen School Board has ordered one of its own to take down an advertisement at the Aspen High School football field.The sign, which carries the name of the Morris & Fyrwald real estate company, must be taken down as soon as possible, according to a vote by the school board Monday.Board member Ernie Fyrwald, an avid supporter of the high schools athletic programs, is a founding member of the real estate company.The firm signed a sponsorship agreement to pay $20,000 a year for one decade to help defray the costs of resurfacing the athletic field and other improvements. In return, the district gave its permission for the company to display its logo on the fields scoreboard.When the original logo proved difficult to read, the district allowed the company to enlarge the logo on the side of the sign facing the athletic field and the stands. The company, apparently on its own, decided to place the old, smaller logo on the back side of the sign, which faces Maroon Creek Road.Residents of the nearby Five Trees subdivision complained about the sign, which would violate the countys sign code except that the school district is not subject to the countys codes because of its status as a special district under state law.At Mondays meeting, Fyrwald recused himself from voting on the sign, but he did take part in the discussion.Board president Laura Kornasiewicz noted that, while the board did give its approval for the original sign, she and Carol Sams, the districts athletic director, spoke to Superintendent Diana Sirko about the matter after the complaints in August. Sirko was not at Mondays meeting, but previously said the signs are not billboards; she said they should be called sponsor signs.Kornasiewicz, in a summary memo to the other board members, said she and Sams concluded that the sign was probably in violation of county ordinance for billboards, but felt it was an administrative issue and the [board of education] need not get involved.When nothing was done about it, which Kornasiewicz attributed to the busy fall season, she brought the matter to the attention of the board.After reviewing the applicable district policies, Kornasiewicz wrote, it appears the placement of the recycled sign on the backside of the scoreboard may be in violation of our original sponsor agreement. Plus, she indicated, although the district could ignore the countys prohibition against billboards, it would be better public relations to comply.Board member Charla Belinski noted that while she is not opposed to the sign having been enlarged, she, too, thought the original agreement permitted only one logo.Fyrwald, after recusing himself from the vote, told his fellow board members, I got calls from people complaining more about the lights than the sign.He also warned that forcing the removal of the sign might send the wrong message to potential big-dollar donors.Itll definitely stifle the ability of people to do that, he said, referring to anyone who might want to make a large donation in return for public recognition.When Belinski moved to have the second sign removed, there was some discussion about how and when.Can I request 30 days? Fyrwald asked, explaining that he would bring in a special sign guy to do the work.Kornasiewicz won agreement from the rest of the board to leave the order to be carried out as soon as possible, and that the schools maintenance department should work with Fyrwalds sign specialists.John Colsons e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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