After hearing from Main Street merchant Frank Strauss, whose hat store Fedora Primo has seen an increase in foot traffic thanks to a simple sign he installed months ago, the Daily Press is certain that the City Council should extend a relaxation of rules regarding signs in public space.

The pilot program that relaxed the rules is set to expire on March 31 unless the council votes to extend it on Tuesday.

The council has the opportunity to show small business owners that it cares by allowing removable signs on private property. The signs we are talking about are minor — signs attached to buildings that project out into the street or box signs attached to the side of a building to advertise restaurant menus or sales. They are hardly intrusive and pale in comparison to the billboards we see or the pop-up ads that follow us on our mobile devices. These are smaller signs that help local merchants, not mega-chains. Isn’t that what City Hall’s Buy Local campaign is all about, helping mom-and-pops?

Since the pilot program went into effect roughly nine months ago, the Daily Press has not received any complaints about the signs. Some people find them helpful. In this post-recession economy where recovery is still fragile, City Hall needs to be doing all it can to support our local merchants. It’s time for the unreasonable sign law to go.

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