BOUNTIFUL — The flowering pear and locust trees that line the sidewalks of Bountiful’s Main Street are beloved for their shade, their beauty and the airy but time-honored sense of place they provide.
But merchants along the street say they are also hampering business. Customers can’t see storefront signs through their thick foliage, business owners say. Would-be shoppers often drive up and down the street several times before either parking to hunt for stores on foot or taking their dollars elsewhere.
“I think the concern is there are people that love trees and don’t want to see any tree cut down, and I don’t know why those people take precedence over the merchants,” said Bruce Barton of Barton Comfort Shoes, who has delayed replacing his sign for years because it’s virtually invisible from the street.
Mike Murphy, owner of Murphy’s Guitars on the north end of Main Street, will become president of the Bountiful Main Street Merchant’s Association next month.
About a month ago, the city added a layer of difficulty to the signage problem when it required all businesses to remove the banners, streamers and wire H-frame signs from the park strip area in front of their stores.
For Murphy’s, this meant removing streams of colored flags that were a favorite way for customers to locate the store. It also meant taking down signs that advertised private music lessons.
The signs and streamers were problematic for a few reasons, said Bountiful Planning and Economic Development Director Aric Jensen.
First, pounding anything into the ground or even into the planters on the street could damage utility pipes, he said.
Furthermore, they introduce liability problems. For most businesses on the street, the private property line ends at the storefront. The city is responsible for maintaining the sidewalk, planters, park strip and street.
Bountiful City is also responsible for hazards in this public right of way. This was made perfectly clear, to the tune of $40,000, when a woman who tripped on a flag post left in that right of way sued for damages a few years ago, Jensen said.
For more information check out the Oct 18 edition of Davis Clipper.