Plans to install street sign-style metal panels on a downtown lamppost to identify nearby businesses moved forward with the call for an ordinance detailing the program.

Alderman Carol Johnson wants to install the signs to notify motorists which businesses are located nearby.

The first group of signs would be attached to a lamppost at the corner of St. Louis and First streets near the vintage clock.

Johnson presented a sketch that had been prepared by Sign Experts illustrating 16 6- by 24-inch metal banners on one lamppost. Eight signs would be attached to each side of the post with arrows pointing toward the location of the business.

Aldermen say they want to work out a program that can be replicated in other areas of the city that will be fair to businesses that want to put their names on the signs.

A lengthy discussion at the Oct. 1 board of aldermen meeting focused on who would own the signs and how businesses whose names would be on the signs would be selected.

Johnson said the businesses would purchase the signs and even pay to have them installed but Mayor Herb Adams said the city should own the signs and install them. Businesses that wanted their name on the sign would pay a fee for the purchase and maintenance of the signs.

City Attorney Dan Vogel said the city cannot advertise individual businesses, but the project could work if the ordinance defined the project as improving traffic safety as motorists make turns to look for businesses.

Johnson has been working with businesses along St. Louis Street from approximately Fourth to Columbus streets to eliminate the sandwich board signs on the sidewalks, replacing them with uniform directional signs. She said as downtown businesses work together they are attracting visitors from other communities who need some directions.

Johnson noted that the downtown business owners are investing in their individual businesses, attracting shoppers and working to direct shoppers to each other’s businesses.

The growing success of the Thursday evening ladies night out event is an indication of increased activity in the downtown.

Johnson said the post office and library also are located in the district, but those should be identified with the blue directional signs that point to cemeteries, hospitals, etc. The lamppost signs should be limited to identifying nearby businesses.

Alderman Mike Pigg, who operates Pigg’s Pets on West Osage, said the signs should be available to other businesses.

Johnson said she envisions that the signs could be posted on a lamppost in any business district and would be limited to the businesses located near the signs.

Adams directed the city attorney to put together an ordinance spelling out how the signs would be regulated and bring it back to the aldermen at the next meeting.