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City of Oswego votes against allowing university signs on city property

Gino Geruntino
Workers use a jackhammer to dismantle a cobblestone structure built on the corner of Washington Bvld. and Sheldon Ave. The sign was built on city-owned property before approval was given by the city's Common Council.

The city of Oswego is putting the brakes on SUNY Oswego's construction of several signs on city property designed to improve the entrance to the college.

The Common Council voted down the university's plan to erect an entrance sign and two other signs on city property. The city stopped the construction project last month, saying the college did not get approval first.

Councilor Michael Todd voted against the project and urged other council members to do the same.

"If it were up to me, they'd have to tear them all down and start the process all over again," Todd said.

Councilor Fran Enwright voted to approve the resolution allowing the city to continue, saying the improvements are good for the city, SUNY Oswego and visitors.

"What exactly are you doing by voting that down?" Enwright said. "Now look at what the overall picture of what that was going to do. Putting up those signs, making it easier to communicate with the people, the parents that are coming into the city, they want to find a certain hall where their kids are. I mean, that's what that was about."

Enwright also pointed out that the college may not have known that they had to get city approval.

"If I caught them and they didn't know better, I'd say look, come and get a permit," Enwright explained. "Am I then going to chastise them and say no you can't have it? No."

Councilor Eric Van Buren took a diplomatic approach. He voted against approving the project because SUNY Oswego didn't follow the established rules the city holds every business and resident to.

"It helps us, it helps the neighbors, it helps the residents," Van Buren said. "We had talked to them during committee about what they needed to do and what was going on. And they brought them and we saw that there was some additional work going on. It just would be nice if we could be a part of the process, so that we could know what was happening."

Julie Blissert, with SUNY Oswego, says the college is moving the sign bases in question off public space. She says there are three that need to be moved will be shifted far from their current locations. About 40 signs will be erected around campus.