Mystic merchants want downtown banners to promote events

Mystic - The Downtown Mystic Merchants have asked for $9,100 from the Town of Groton to start a program that would design and hang banners in downtown Mystic.

The merchant group approached the Town Council last week about the project, which would use the banners to welcome residents and highlight special events. Downtown Mystic has 27 poles from which banners could be hung, said Judy Hartley, president of Downtown Mystic Merchants. The proposal would create 19 different designs, then produce 30 banners. Not all would be hung at once.

Some would be duplicates with a message like "Welcome to Historic Downtown Mystic," and would be hung where drivers enter downtown. Other banners would be used to promote special events like the Spring Stroll, Farmer's Market or Pirate Festival. Still others would be seasonal, Hartley said.

The banners would be 2 feet wide and 4 feet tall, and would hang above the line of sight so as not to distract motorists, she said. The group is working with town staff on the project.

The council decided last week to get more information and vote at an upcoming meeting. Some councilors may tour the downtown to see where the banners would hang.

Councilor Genevieve Cerf said 19 sounds like too many.

"I don't want it to look like a carnival," she said. "That would be terrible."

She said the Historic District Commission should review the proposal.

But Councilor Joe de la Cruz said Mystic merchants do a great job in the "taste" department.

"It's not going to look like a Ferris wheel or a clown," he said. "It's not going to look like a circus."

At least three councilors said the banners should include designs that promote other sights in Groton, like Fort Griswold or the Submarine Force Museum.

Hartley said the group sought out local designers for the task. Councilor Bruce Flax suggested they or the town contact the art department at Fitch High School, and see if teachers can have students create designs for free.

d.straszheim@theday.com

@DStraszheim

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