Voter input helps determine Cedar Park gateway sign design

The people's will won out June 14 when the Cedar Park City Council selected the voter-approved gateway sign design.

The council unanimously approved the Option A sign design, which won out 832-765 over Option B in a citywide poll held earlier this year. The council's decision to pick the winning design contrasted a May 8 recommendation by the city's 4B Community Development Board to select Option B.

The 4B Board, which uses a half-cent sales tax to fund community and economic development projects, originally proposed the signs to be placed along unspecified entrances into Cedar Park.

Voter feedback was too large to ignore, Cedar Park Mayor Matt Powell said. More votes were placed, in fact, than the 1,240 cast in the May 12 city election during which Powell was elected.

"When you can vote in your pajamas, it makes it easier," he said.

Despite a 66-vote edge to Option A, the 4B Board endorsed the alternative because it is 10 feet taller and $5,000 to $10,000 cheaper, board member Mo Jahadi said.

"Public opinion was a huge factor, but only one option to consider," he said. "We thought we could get more bang for less dollars, so it just made more sense—especially when the vote totals were so close."

But the public has spoken, Councilman Mitch Fuller said, although he cautioned the city before moving forward.

"These signs don't help one car get through Cedar Park any faster," Fuller said. "I'm more concerned about getting roads than these signs."

For now, however, there are no proposed road projects before the 4B Board, Jahadi said. In the meantime, he said the committee should focus more on fulfilling its mission to further community development.

"One of our main goals to be destination city," he said. "And this really fits that goal."

The city will next consider where to place the signs and how many to immediately build. Each sign is expected to cost approximately $100,000.

By Joe Lanane
Joe Lanane’s career is rooted in community journalism, having worked for a variety of Midwest-area publications before landing south of the Mason-Dixon line in 2011 as the Stillwater News-Press news editor. He arrived at Community Impact Newspaper in 2012, gaining experience as editor of the company’s second-oldest publication in Leander/Cedar Park. He eventually became Central Austin editor, covering City Hall and the urban core of the city. Lanane leveraged that experience to become Austin managing editor in 2016. He managed eight Central Texas editions from Georgetown to San Marcos. Working from company headquarters, Lanane also became heavily involved in enacting corporate-wide editorial improvements. In 2017, Lanane was promoted to executive editor, overseeing editorial operations throughout the company. The Illinois native received his bachelor’s degree from Western Illinois University and his journalism master’s degree from Ball State University.