by Logan Gruber
A sign welcoming visitors to St. Joseph may soon be empty space. The sign, which sits beside Old Hwy 52 and Hwy 75, is on property belonging to Mike Deutz, and it’s been there since 1996.
In an email Dec. 17, Deutz’s attorney gave the city 30 days to remove the sign and return the land to its original state. During the city council meeting on Jan. 5, council members felt 30 days was too little time, and plan to ask for an extension in order to give them more time to find out whether the St. Joseph Lions, the city or both are responsible for removing the sign.
City council members originally worked with multiple groups, including the Lions, to erect signs near the edges of town welcoming visitors. According to public documents, the Lions paid for the sign, while the city agreed to maintain the landscaping around it and provide electricity. In an email, St. Joseph City Attorney Thomas Jovanovich told the city he wasn’t sure whether the city truly owned the sign, as it had never been officially given to the city, or accepted.
At the council meeting, Mayor Rick Schultz said he would meet with the Lions to determine how the sign might be removed, so the issue was tabled. Meanwhile, the city plans to contact Deutz and his attorney to ask for an extension on the 30 day limit, which runs out this week.
“We know we’re going to lose the welcome sign,” Schultz said at a recent St. Joseph Chamber meeting.
However, the city may choose to revamp and relocate all of the welcome signs in the city, Schultz continued.
The council may or may not meet again this month, depending on the amount of business on the agenda.