NAVARRE — Santa Rosa commissioners will gather input from the two Navarre chambers of commerce, the Navarre Leaseholders Association, the Santa Rosa County Tourist Development Council, Navarre businesses and residents on what to do with a Navarre welcome sign scheduled to be replaced as part of a new tourism marketing campaign.
Thursday's vote was unanimous, but commissioners did not reach this point easily. In the process of replacing the old sign, two temporary signs were placed until the new one could be erected.
On May 25, Commission Chairman Rob Williamson removed two temporary 5-by-12-foot signs with the new slogan ("Navarre Beach, Florida's most relaxing place") after seeing several negative Facebook comments from residents who preferred the original sign and slogan ("Navarre Beach, Florida's best kept secret"). In a Facebook video, he said he thought it would be better to have no signage than the “thin, cheap” metal signs.
Paradise Advertising, the agency hired in October to promote Santa Rosa tourism, designed nine signs with the new slogan that will be placed around Navarre. D&G Graphics created the signs made from high-density urethane. The signs' total cost is $33,280.
Commissioner Sam Parker accepted Williamson’s apology for removing the temporary signs without board approval and urged him to denounce comments vilifying the board and the TDC.
Commissioner Lane Lynchard’s opinion was to move forward with commissioners' original plan, to use the new sign while deciding later what to do with the original sign.
Commissioner Bob Cole moved to have staff collect input while installing the new signs, to which Williamson objected. Cole amended his statement to only have staff do so without mention in his motion of what to do with any signs.
Williamson approved this motion but the process of placing the new signs still stands since this was part of the original plan, Cole said.