New digital billboard for Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex OK'd by Manatee County Commission

skennedy@bradenton.comJanuary 4, 2013 

MANATEE -- A new digital electronic billboard at the Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex won approval Thursday from Manatee County commissioners.

The board also approved a number of proposed revisions to the county Land Development Code concerning regulation of electronic billboard signs in general.

The applicant for the ice and sports complex, MJ Square, LLC, won approval of a new sign that will be 63 feet high and will cover 672 square feet (48 feet by 14 feet).

It will replace the existing pole sign along the east side of Interstate 75, on the complex's property just north of the Ellenton Premium Outlets mall at U.S. Hwy. 301 and Interstate 75, the board decided during a land-use meeting.

The sign OK'd Thursday is essentially the same as one approved previously, but lower in height and smaller in size, county officials said.

The earlier approval called for a sign 71 feet tall, covering 880 square feet (40 feet by 22 feet).

However, it was too big and was never built, said former state Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, one of the business' owners and recently elected as the Manatee County supervisor of elections.

The digital sign OK'd Thursday will cost about $1 million to install, said Bennett.

Asked after the meeting how long it will take before

the billboard goes up, Bennett replied, "As soon as we get the money to build it."

The county's stringent sign code has hindered commercial exposure to those driving by the area, according to a staff analysis of county sign regulations.

Providing "aesthetically attractive, properly located, functional signage along I-75" will increase visibility to the existing businesses and bring more customers and visitors into Manatee County, the analysis found.

About 30 bicyclists attended the meeting in support of the Manatee County Complete Streets initiative, which outlined a vision for streets that can accommodate "all users."

It was developed to include pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit passengers of all ages and abilities, as well as trucks, buses and automobiles in the design of streetscapes.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter

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