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New banners touted to add pizazz to Sylvania

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Three new banner designs will hit Sylvania streets by month's end, and the trash-collection company that serves the city has signed up to cover most of the cost as a sponsor.

The banners, to be displayed on 150 light poles around the community, depict blooming flowers, fuzzy dandelions, and evening dragonflies in imagery created by Kent Illenden, a local graphic designer, said Kate Conway, vice chairman of the Sylvania Arts Commission and a member of a Downtown Decoration Committee that is coordinating the banner program.

"I think banners make the community - they're that little sparkle that makes you say, 'Wow'," said Pat Nowak, director of the Sylvania Area Chamber of Commerce.

The $5,000 sponsorship from Allied Waste Services of Toledo, based in of Erie, Mich., will cover more than half the banners' production cost, and Sylvania City Council, which had earlier balked at footing the entire bill, recently approved spending the $3,100 balance.

"We're thrilled that Allied Waste is our inaugural sponsor. It shows their true commitment to the community," Ms. Conway said.

"We provide services to the city of Sylvania, and we feel like we're a part of the community and should support it," said Paul Rasmussen, Allied's general manager.

"We feel we need to be a good corporate citizen and participate," he said.

The arts commission in November presented a $13,000 cost estimate to city council for producing four banners during 2010 - two designs for a spring-summer display and two more for autumn. But council members said that it would send the wrong message to city taxpayers if they were to foot the entire bill, especially during tight times.

The arts commission subsequently accepted a recommendation from council's streets committee that it set up the Downtown Decoration Committee, whose members include delegates from council, the chamber, the arts commission, city administration, and downtown Sylvania merchants.

The new banners are expected to be on display through August, after which the as-yet unchosen autumn designs are to take their place.

The autumn banners would be removed when the city's Christmas decorations go up.

Ms. Conway told council at its April 5 meeting that the committee is "90 percent sure" it has a sponsor lined up for autumn display, and the decorations committee on Friday brainstormed ideas for additional sponsorships in the future.

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