The Putnam Examiner

Patterson Town Board Looks Into Sign for Fire Dept.

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Discussions renewed between the Patterson Town Board and the Patterson Fire Department about the potential to put a message board up along Route 311 in front of department headquarters.

With town officials pledging to keep an open mind as they weighed the pros and cons of a message board, the department could be inching a little closer to securing permission to erect one for its use.

Newly minted councilman Peter Dandreano brought the issue up and said from his understanding the town had certain issues about putting the board up, but that it could work with strict guidelines in place.

One guideline Dandreano mentioned was restricting how many messages the board could show at one time in order to limit the chances of distracted driving by people on the road. But he did say if the department was able to build the board, it could be valuable to the entire town, especially during emergencies.

“I think we could write it into our emergency preparedness plan that that is our message board in the event of an emergency,” he said. “And give residents a place to go for information.”

Other town board members also chimed in with how a message board could work if the board decided to go that way.

Supervisor Michael Griffin said he’d like to see the town be able to utilize the message board for about 20 minutes per hour for town and other non-profit events occurring in Patterson.

Councilman Kevin Burns said there are two courses of action that could be taken in order to see the board finally go up. One would be for the town to exempt the fire department from a zoning change, which the department is requesting or combine the two lots, which would allow the department to do whatever they want.

“I’m concerned about exempting from zoning for the other implications it may have town wide,” Burns said.

He also brought up the possibility of having the message board in front of town hall that the fire department would run, but Griffin noted that it was a bad location because a four way intersection and railroad crossing are right in front of town hall.

Councilman Charles Cook said no matter where the sign is placed, it should be aesthetically pleasing and guidelines should be set before the message board is operational so “it’s all handled properly and people aren’t at each other’s throats.”

Griffin said as long as the rest of the town board is willing to have an open mind, he’s willing to work with representatives from the fire department on the matter.

Eleanor Smith, president of the Patterson Fire Department, said during the meeting that she’s ready to work with town officials to finally find a way for the message board to become a reality, and that the main use would be to give information to the rest of the town during emergency and disaster situations.

“The other stuff and the other activities are underlying,” she said. “The major reason is we want to protect the town and give information to the citizens if there is a disaster.”

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