AUBURN — The city should make better use of the electronic sign in front of the Auburn Public Library rather than spend money on putting a new one closer to Auburn Hall, councilors said Monday.

School Committee member Chris Langis said the idea came from residents he talked to last summer as he went door to door, campaigning for his School Committee seat.

“It came up at least a dozen times that people just didn’t know when the meetings were,” Langis said. “They didn’t have access to the Internet or they don’t read the Sun Journal for whatever reason. So I was trying to come up with a way to reach out to everyone about city information, whether it’s a meeting, a sporting event, a tax deadline, nomination papers or things like that.”

Langis and the rest of the School Committee met with councilors for a special workshop meeting Monday night in Auburn Hall.

Langis suggested that the city and schools split the cost of a single-sided electronic sign, attached to the Mechanics Row side of Auburn Hall at the Court Street intersection. The sign would cost $15,000 to purchase and could be used to advertise City Council and School Committee meetings, as well as other municipal information.

“I think it would be good investment and I think the people would also agree with that,” Langis said.


Councilor Mary LaFontaine said she was not convinced that the corner of Auburn Hall would be the best place for the sign. She preferred a spot where a two-sided sign could go, visible to downtown traffic from both directions. She noted that the sign could be paid for by fundraisers, if people in community wanted to do so.

Councilor Adam Lee agreed that the sign should not go on Auburn Hall since it is a historic building.

But Councilor Leroy Walker said the downtown already has an electronic sign a few blocks up on Spring Street, in front of the Auburn Public Library.

“They have a nice sign now,” he said. “That sign covers an area that I believe covers a better area than this would.”

School Committee member Bonnie Hayes agreed.

“We would not have usurped their advertising for their cafe,” Hayes said. “It could be very short, ‘City Council tonight, School Committee tonight. And don’t forget the budget.’ We would not have to be using it all the time, but occasionally, when city business strikes.”

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