Shauna Walters has proposed allowing people to purchase banners to honor graduates, veterans, and ROTC enrollees
BATTLE GROUND — NOTE: An earlier version of this story stated that Battle Ground Public Schools paid for the Tiger Pride banners now along Main Street. It has been corrected to note that the high school paid for eight of the banners out of their own money, and alumni groups paid for the rest through donations. We regret the error.
In the years since Battle Ground ended the yearly tradition of a lighted “Seasons Greetings” sign across Main Street, over fears that the poles holding it up could fail, residents in the city have urged leaders to find a new way to celebrate the holidays.
This year, that took the form of banners hung from power poles along Main Street from the High School, east through Old Town with various holiday greetings on them.
The cost was covered almost entirely by City Councilor Shauna Walters, who pledged during her campaign to donate half of her council salary, and to find a way to bring the holiday spirit back to Main Street.
It’s something the city councilor, who just completed her first year in office, says has high on her most frequent constituent request list.
Following the holidays, those banners were replaced by ones reading “Tiger Pride” and bearing the logo of the Battle Ground High School sports teams, who are hoping to resume postponed seasons next month.
Battle Ground High School initially purchased eight of those banners, and the rest were paid for by alumni groups who caught wind of the idea, said Principal Charbonneau Gourde. The city and school district are discussing a possible cost-sharing agreement in the future to cover taking the banners down and putting them back up.
Now, Walters says she’s hoping to find a way to expand the Main Street banner program to honor those entering the military, current veterans, and graduating seniors from Battle Ground and Prairie High Schools.
Walters said Thursday that she brought up the idea with Battle Ground Mayor Adrian Cortes recently, and he agreed to let her present the idea, which she did at Monday’s City Council meeting.
“I kind of wanted to get the temperature of the rest of the council before I started going forth into the community,” Walters told Clark County Today.
Her proposal, which is in the early stages, would mirror a similar program in some other cities, including Beaverton, which allows people to buy custom banners, though the amount remains to be determined.
“The concern that I have is that if they’re priced too high, the community isn’t likely to do it, just like the brick program that we have in the Veterans Memorial,” said Walters. “But at the same time, we can’t really justify spending the community’s money either.”
The cost of each banner is around $70, though customizing them could be more expensive, said City Manager Erin Erdman. The city also received a bid of $1,800 from a local electrician to change out the banners each time, though Public Works Director Mark Herceg noted that was for all 84 poles along Main Street, and could be less if they put banners on fewer poles.
Walters said the banners purchased by community members could be kept once taken down, and then put back up again the next year for a small cost, though it was still being worked out who would coordinate that.
During the holidays, several banners also blew down and had to be put back up. Council member Shane Bowman noted they would have to figure out who pays the cost for replacing any banners that get lost or damaged.
Cortes said he is also in conversation with the school district and the high school’s Associated Student Body (ASB) to see if they would be willing to cover at least some of the cost for ROTC enrollees, and so far the feedback has been positive.
Walters also plans to continue putting half of her city council salary, or $411 per month, towards the program as well, which could go towards some placeholder banners to fill the poles if they don’t have enough purchased by the community, though Councilor Philip Johnson noted that funding would go away if Walters did.
The plan, said Walters, is to continue conversations on modifications, bring it back before council at their next meeting, and potentially launch a pilot program later in the year.
One idea was a possible website where people could buy the banners, and even modify the design somewhat, depending on the capabilities of whichever printing company the city contracts with.