Downtown to get new banners


City council approves business-sponsored banners celebrating Trappers, Panthers

The ragged banners flapping on downtown light posts are set to be replaced under a local committee’s plan to revitalize the area; the Powell City Council gave the go-ahead to the plan for the new banners last week.

Trace Paul, a loan officer at First Bank of Wyoming, originally pitched Building Official Ben Hubbard on just updating the banners around his bank, located on the corner of First and Clark streets. But that conversation  expanded to include the banners located throughout the city.

“We decided, why not expand that beyond the area of First Bank and continue it throughout the entire town where the banners are located currently?” Paul told the council on Wednesday. “There may also be an opportunity to put up additional banners where there aren’t any existing ones at this time.”

Encouraged by his conversation with Hubbard, Paul then met with Toby Bonner, general manager of the Powell Tribune, to brainstorm how to make the project work. A key component was devising a way the city could have fresh banners on a regular basis with little expense. A committee calling itself “Pride in Powell” was formed, featuring representatives from local businesses, Northwest College and Park County School District No. 1 and the ball began to roll.

The group came up with an idea to create banners highlighting the college and high school.

“Every other banner would either be a Panther or a Trapper banner,” Paul explained.

Each banner would be sponsored for $100, with the name of the sponsor located on the

banner itself. The banners would be replaced every two years, with each business given the opportunity to re-sponsor its banner at that time.

“The logo of the business would not be the prominent piece of the banner, but it would at least give a little bit of notoriety to those sponsors able to donate money and provide the funds to keep these banners updated,” Paul said. “Additionally, we would ask that the city, if able, to provide the equipment and labor to replace the banners.”

The committee decided on a two-year sponsorship to allow not only for wear and tear on the banner, but for shifting business landscapes as well.

“Businesses change,” said committee member Andy Nelson, a vice president at First Bank of Wyoming. “Some leave, some new ones come in. It gives you the opportunity if your name is not up there; there is only a short amount of time you have to wait to get your name up on a banner.”

Sponsorships are not restricted to businesses; individuals or groups wishing to show a little hometown pride are encouraged to participate as well.

“If there is an individual or family that wants to support the local organizations, they are welcome to do it as well,” Paul said. “And what’s great is we’ve had some individuals, as well as businesses, already express interest.”

The money raised through sponsorships would be used to design, manufacture and hang the banners. Any extra funds would be set aside to repair or replace banners damaged during that two-year period, as well as perhaps providing a little support to the local athletic programs.

“The $100 is going to cover the banners, and could potentially go to buy new brackets as well,” Nelson said. “That’s the main focus of the money. At a certain point in time, any of the leftover funds would be split equally between the Trapper Booster Club and the Powell [Athletic] Roundtable. There is no plan for the committee to make any money on this. It’s really just a community effort to put some goodwill back into the town and pride back into the schools.”

At Wednesday’s City Council meeting, Councilman Jim Hillberry inquired about the current state of the existing brackets on the light poles with banners; City Administrator Zane Logan said, with the council’s approval, the city is willing to fix or replace the brackets.

“Any bracket we can reasonably repair, we will,” Logan said. “I can’t guarantee all of them can be fixed, but the vast majority can be. We would have no problem doing our part in that.”

Paul estimated there are about 80 existing banners throughout Powell. The new banners will be designed at the Powell Tribune and produced by Rovenna Signs and Designs of Powell. Brochures advertising the sponsorships are scheduled to go out this week to Main Street businesses; individuals interested in sponsoring a banner can contact Paul at First Bank of Wyoming or Bonner at the Powell Tribune. Businesses with a lightpole in front of their establishment will have the right of first refusal for a banner on that pole; after that, it will be first come, first served. Pride in Powell has set Friday, Aug. 25 as its projected completion date.

“There is a kick-off weekend for NWC on Aug. 25 and 26, with an event in downtown Powell,” Paul said. “We would like to have banners up by then. That’s our goal.”

Pride in Powell is excited about how the project is taking shape, and is encouraged by the positive feedback the committee has received from the City Council, Paul said.

“It’s really turning into a phenomenal project,” he said. “It started out as a simple idea, and it’s turned into a really nice project for the town. We think when those new banners go up, it’s going to be pretty striking.”

Tribune photo by Don Cogger