After debating the issue, the Council decided to allow the Chamber to renovate one kiosk, but to leave the other one the way it is for now.
“The kiosks are unsightly and lend nothing at all to the ambience of the community,” Councilman Bernie Miller said. “It looks like a street corner in a rustbelt town…This plan would be a great improvement over what is there now. Frankly I think either they ought to be replaced or removed.”
Councilman Lance Liverman said giving control of the kiosks to the Chamber would also save a few tax dollars.
“This is a lease agreement, “Liverman said. “If we don’t like how it goes we can do something different down the road.”
Architect Bob Hillier presented revised plans for the kiosks. As part of his firm’s design, the kiosks would be shaped like crosses to provoke more surface area for posters and public notices.
Councilman Patrick Simon said though he previously opposed the proposal, the revisions to the plan strike a good balance and serve both the business community and the public.
“If you go look at the kiosks, they are not something to be proud of right now,” Simon said. “The concern I had in February was that we were commercializing the town. What this is doing is striking a balance.”
But other council members said many Princeton residents want the kiosks to remain as they are, even if they are messy.
“We’ve heard loud and clear that citizens like them the way they are and they want them to stay,” Councilwoman Jo Butler said.
“It’s not worth adding paid advertising where we don’t see it now, and taking away the character of the downtown,” Councilwoman Jenny Crumiller said. “The public works department can spruce up the the kiosks and the cost is not humongous.”
Councilwoman Heather Howard said the kiosks are part of what makes Princeton special.
“We are seeing an increasing commercialization, and more chains coming in to Princeton, Howard said. “This is a solution to a problem that doesn’t need fixing. I’m not hearing form anyone who is concerned about them. I have a friend who can put up notices about his band. It really is a part of what makes the town unique.”
Liverman accused Council members who oppose the plan of not wanting to support local businesses. “I don’t see why this isn’t a win win,” he said.
The Council was divided 3-3 on the issue, which meant Lempert would cast the tie-breaking vote.
“I do agree with that we do not want to pick up this cost,” she said.
Lempert then proposed that the Chamber renovate one kiosk and see how it works out.
The council will vote on a lease agreement with the Chamber to manage one kiosk at the next council meeting.