You may soon be seeing fewer crosses and other makeshift memorials along the road in Independence.
The city council agreed to across-the-board enforcement on signs in the right of way Monday night, treating memorials the same way they treat advertisements and political signs. The city will create memorials to lost loved ones for a fee.
"It's been a long, ongoing issue; we are seeing more and more of it and we are hearing more and more complaints," said Councilman Curt Dougherty. "And I said, ‘why don't we just enforce the [existing] ordinance?' It would be the same if you had garage sale signs, put up a political message, or something like this."
Dougherty said some of the complaints centered on aesthetics and from those interested in beautifying the city, while others centered on safety.
"Where does it all stop?" Dougherty asked. "They are becoming bigger and larger, more elaborate. They are designed to draw your attention away from the road and look at these items."
The city council agreed to provide a standardized city-issued memorial for those interested in paying $150 for a two-year display for those who want to pay tribute to lost loved ones.
Dougherty said that would cover the cost of making, installing and maintaining the sign.
Signs would be made and maintained by the Independence Department of Public Works. They would measure 24 inches by 8 inches, what Dougherty said was about the size of a "No Parking" sign, and would include a name, death date, and safety phrase. The two-year cost would not be renewable.
"We talked about that," Dougherty said. "We feel [after] two years, it's time to bring closure to it. After that they can set up a scholarship at a school, dedicate a park bench or something to that endeavor."
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