The city has heard the cries from West Franklin Street and plan to change the temporary sign ordinance. In the meantime, all fines associated with temporary sign ordinance are suspended. "I don't think that maybe they knew how serious the implications were for small businesses," said Cindy Reitz at Gerst Haus. She is part of the West Franklin Street group asking for local government to make a change, and elected officials are listening. "Until we revisit the ordinance and rework the ordinance the fines have been suspended," said Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke. "I'm glad that they are, and I don't know that they would've been so vocal about it had so many businesses got involved," said Reitz.
Mark Hanney of Home Sweet Home is new to West Franklin Street. "It's encouraging to see that the mayor and the city is willing to listen," said Hanney. He received the same letter from the area plan commission saying his sign violated the city ordinance, so he went ahead and paid the permit fee. "I was wanting to stay compliant, but at the same time it was upsetting." He has two signs on his store, but he says the sign out front did the most for business. "When we put the sandwich board out on the sidewalk it has helped tremendously people being able to find us amongst the other businesses here." The cost of the permit for the sign was $25 a month, which can be a lot for a small business. "Every $25, every $50 added to our overhead most drastically affects our bottom line," said Hanney.
Mayor Winnecke says he wants local government to help businesses grow, not impede progress with permits and fines. "We have really attempted to make city government more user friendly," said Mayor Winnecke.
Several city council members say they expect a new version of the sign ordinance to be brought up in the next city council meeting on December 9th. Councilman Al Lindsey who is sponsoring the new ordinance says it will be based on common sense and will likely not require a permit for reasonable temporary signage.