Monday, October 28, 2013

I-75 rowing signage? Nah, makes too much sense

This is great.
Whether you're a fan of the sport, there's no denying the burgeoning Benderson Park rowing facility has the potential to be a regional economic engine.
So mounting a sign on Interstate 75 near University Parkway to let visitors know where the venue is, makes sense, right?
Not to the Florida Department of Transportation, evidently.
At a Monday transportation planning meeting, the Sarasota-/Manatee Metropolitan Transportation Organization board asked if such a sign could be erected along the interstate. With thousands of rowing enthusiasts expected for the 2017 World Rowing Championship, it might be a good idea to help these out-of-towners and tourists in general find the new rowing center.
No dice, said an FDOT official.
Apparently, the proposed sign doesn't meet state administrative guidelines -- whatever they are -- so it cannot be put up on I-75, according to the FDOT's Roxann Lake.
Such a sign, she said, must provide some benefit to motorists using the roadway.
Excuse me, but it isn't that the purpose of mounting said sign?
Florida has signage all along its interstates to assist tourism, the state's lifeblood.
But Benderson Park doesn't make the cut?
The FDOT official did say, however, state guidelines permit such a sign three days or so before  the event.
What do they think the 2017 World Rowing Championship is?
A neighborhood festival and fundraiser?
Manatee County Commissioner Larry Bustle pointed out there will be a host of national and international events leading up to it.
“We owe it to ourselves to capitalize on what we have there,” Bustle said.
Not to mention the fact the taxpayer has more than $5 million invested in its success.
The board passed a motion to ask FDOT to reconsider its administrative code to allow signage along I-75.
Good. There's time to make it happen and do it right.
Not three days before the main event, either.

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