CAMDEN It might seem that the idea of putting an LED message sign outside the Ouachita County Detention Complex would be no big deal.
After all, it certainly is in a high traffic, highly visible location at the corner of Arkansas 7 and Goodgame Street.
So, what’s got justices of the peace debating whether to give the go-ahead on such a sign?
Actually, we agree that JPs need to give the idea a good measure of thought.
While we’re kind of with County Judge Robert McAdoo, who said during the meeting when the subject was discussed that he likes the idea, we also agree with JP Dennis Truelove who had concerns. Truelove’s concerns are not only about the cost, but the types of messages that would be on the sign board, which we see as a possible cause of conflict.
The sign would be like the one that is in front of Camden Fairview High School, which in itself prompts us to voice one little gripe. The high school is not diligent in keeping its sign up to date which leads to frustration when events or activities it promotes have already occurred.
As for funding, Truelove suggested the Advertising and Promotion Commission chip in for a share of the costs.
At the top of the list of concerns should be who would be able to have messages posted on the sign and what types of message would be permitted.
Bans on commercial and political advertising are, we hope, no-brainers.
Obvious good uses would be safe driving cautions such as Click It or Ticket or alerts of enhanced enforcement during holidays; posting of county-wide burn bans and promotion of events such as the Daffodil Festival, Juneteenth and Barn Sale.
But what organizations and types of messages will be allowed and who will make the determinations?
The rules will need to be clear and faithfully enforced.
McAdoo and JP Fred Lilly, who is deputy superintended of the Camden Fairview School District, will research the issue and report back to the quorum court.
It seems like a good idea, but, along with deciding who is going to pay for it, the county needs to anticipate what types of conflicts might arise, how to avoid or resolve them and be ready to pull the plug if it becomes more trouble than it’s worth.