The Morris City Council (before social distancing). (Photo: Marshall Hoffman)

A lengthy discussion on lighting the Welcome to Morris signs and how to fund that took up a large chunk of the regular meeting of the Morris City Council this week. The signs currently are not lit at night, and they are largely not near an electrical source. Some council members saw a lit sign as an important lure for travelers to stay overnight on their journeys. City Manager Blaine Hill told the KMRS Community Connection that the Council was favorable to lighting it in a way that followed the goals of the Morris Model.

“One of the things that we’re looking at is, is it possible to find lighting that uses solar power to put energy into a battery,” said Hill. “I thought it was a little bit more expensive than maybe what I would be interested in. But the Council thought it was probably worth it in the long run to make sure we have a light on our signs so as people aare coming through at night, they know where they’re going through in the City of Morris.”

Council members Jeff Miller and Kim Gullickson thought perhaps money from the lodging tax could pay for the sign lighting, but Hill said that money is only supposed to be used for tourism marketing. This raised another discussion of what constitutes marketing, with some arguing that weary travelers would be more inclined to stay in a Morris hotel if they saw inviting signage. The Welcome to Morris signs were originally donated by Neil Schmidgall. Hill said more research will be done on the issue.

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