Council OKs proposal for 4th of July flag display

If the funding falls into place, Warren will look a lot more red, white and blue this summer than it has in years past.

Kelly Thompson, with the Warren County 4th of July Committee, pitched a flag concept to Warren City Council during Council’s Monday night meeting.

Thompson proposed that flags be erected on Pennsylvania Ave., from S. South St. to Union St., from Memorial Day through approximately a week after the 4th of July.

“I think it would be great to see flags in the City of Warren,” she said to Council, noting that flags have flown in a similar manner previously.

As for how many, Thompson said that she counted 72 wooden poles as well as 13 metal poles in that corridor.

Councilman Gregory Fraser asked if those poles are accessible to the city and Department of Public Works Director Mike Holtz said that they were.

Under the proposed agreement, the city would cover the cost of the brackets and installation. The group would purchase the flags as well as store them.

“If we use every pole, it would look pretty good,” Councilman Jim Zavinski said

Thompson explained that, for a higher quality flag and pole, the cost for each would be $29.95.

While council kicked the tires on using half of the holes versus all of the poles and whether downtown businesses might sponsor the flags, Mayor Maurice Cashman, noting that such a decision would be the Committee’s to make, said that “if you’re hitting every pole, aesthetically it looks wonderful. It would be something that grows (and) people would really appreciate.”

Councilman Sam Harvey asked if the flags would be permitted under the city’s sign ordinance which, he claimed, the city uses to “harass people who want to express themselves, in my opinion.”

“I don’t see any deference to a flag not being a sign,” he said.

“They’re not permanent,” said Zavinski.

“I don’t think it falls into the definition of a sign,” City Manager Nancy Freenock said.

Citing a $2,500 cost to the city, Councilman Richard Kolcharno asked whether that referred to using DPW staff and time to install and maintain the flags.

“They are already people we have employed,” said Holtz.

“It’s a soft cost,” Harvey said.

Council unanimously passed the agreement.