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Lighted "joy" sign may need to move from Flat Iron Park because city said they didn't get a permit

and just a little more joy

A Joy sign was installed in Flat Iron Park by the Business Improvement District. But the city complained because they didn’t get a permit and it may have to move.

There could be a little less “joy” in Flat Iron Park this holiday season.

Officials from the Lake Geneva Business Improvement District had a lighted “joy” sign, along with other decorations, installed in the park for the holidays.

However, Kristina Tarantino, event director for the business improvement district, announced during the Business Improvement District Board meeting, Dec. 1, that the sign may need to be moved because city officials informed her that they did not obtained a permit to install the sign in the park.

She also indicated that the city is concerned that the sign could encroach on the snow sculptures that will be constructed in the park during Winterfest, which is held February, even though the sign would probably be removed in early January, anyway.

“We didn’t have a permit,” Tarantino said. “We took it to the wrong spot. They need it moved for Winterfest.”

Tarantino said city officials indicated they wanted the Business Improvement District to obtain a permit for the sign in case another group wanted to place an item in that area of the park.

“They said they do want to know what’s going on, so they don’t cross permit and they don’t give permission to someone else and something is there,” she said.

Tarantino said she informed city officials that the Business Improvement District plans to move the sign.

“I said, ‘We’re getting to it. We’re doing it,’” Tarantino said.

Public Works Director Tom Earle said the city does not have an issue with the sign, but the Business Improvement District did not obtain a permit to install it in the park.

“We did not know they installed it until after the fact,” Earle said. “If they would have pulled the permit, we would have approved it but had them install it 20 feet further east. If that had happened, this entire issue would be mute.”

Earle said the district also did not contact the “diggers hotline” before installing the sign.

“If they would have called in the locate request, the city would have been notified through the hotline of their intent, and we would have been able to abate the issue,” Earle said. “The city has multiple 120/240 vac lines that run all over the park, and also feeder cables that feed the electrical panels.”

Spyro Condos, president of the Business Improvement District Board, said they did not contact the “diggers hotline,” because the sign’s spikes only go down about eight inches into the ground.

“You got to be way beyond two feet before you got to be worried about hitting anything,” Condos said. “They bury stuff before the frost line, and you have to go at least three feet. So eight inches isn’t going to hurt anything.”

Earle said people need to contact the “diggers hotline” before installing any items into the ground.

“There is no ‘length of stakes rule,’” Earle said. “Anytime you dig or drive anything into the ground, the hotline should be contacted.”

Several of the Business Improvement District Board members proposed obtaining a permit to move the sign across the street to Riviera Park.

Alethea Salgado, member of the Business Improvement District Board, said Riviera Park would be an ideal location for the sign, because it would be located in the foreground of the Riviera building and Geneva Lake.

“I think it would be nice if the lake was in the background anyway and the Riviera was in the background,” Salgado said. “Because that helps pull the whole Lake Geneva idea into it.”

Dimitri Anagnos, board member, said Riviera Park would be a good location for people to take pictures of the sign.

“You will have the tree and the lake and a beautiful shot,” Anagnos said. “You could do it towards the Riviera. You could do it towards the lake. You can get different shots.”

Kevin Hermann, co-owner of Treasure Hut Flowers in Delavan, the company that installed the holiday decorations in Flat Iron Park for the Business Improvement District, said this is the first year that he remembers the city asking that any of the decorations be moved.

“I’ve been doing this for 20-plus years. We never once had to move anything because the city had an issue with it,” Hermann said. “I’m just amazed how putting lights on the trees downtown and the ‘joy’ sign and all these little aspects are all of a sudden a problem, because it’s never been a problem.”

Earle said the city has not have given the Business Improvement District an exact deadline for when they have to move the sign or obtain a permit to install it in a different location.

“We would like the sign moved before it freezes into the ground,” Earle said. “The permit can be obtained at any time. We will expedite the permit to get it installed. Again, we like the ‘joy’ sign and hope they install it correctly.”

Deanna Goodwin, marketing director for VISIT Lake Geneva, advised the board members to work with the board of park commissioners about installing decorations in the city parks in the future.

“They’re working to activate the parks and get the parks more used and well known,” Goodwin said. “Maybe they would be on your side to go in as a united front to say, ‘We’re trying to make the parks look better.”

The Business Improvement District Board members also announced that instead of installing an ice skating rink in Flat Iron Park this winter, they plan to install more holiday decorations in the park instead.

“We’ve made the park look beautiful, and we’re going to put more lights in now,” Condos said.

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