Prominent signage at the Independence Events Center was among the top questions Mike Young says he had when he interviewed for its general manager position.

Prominent signage at the Independence Events Center was among the top questions Mike Young says he had when he interviewed for its general manager position.

Nine months after the Events Center’s grand opening – and a year and a half into his role as general manager – Young testified before the Independence Planning Commission on the importance of signs in communicating with the general public.

“This is the way we communicate to our customers, and our customers are the reason why we’re there,” Young said at Tuesday night’s meeting. “If we can’t communicate to them effectively and efficiently, then we’re not going to succeed at the level we need to succeed at.”

The Planning Commission unanimously approved the city of Independence’s application with amendments to establish a special sign character overlay district at the Independence Events Center. The district will allow multiple signs on each building facade, the installation of pole banners and the addition of temporary signs throughout the site.

The amended application states that each Events Center facade may have up to two permanent signs. Two 14 foot by 48 foot panels, known as wallscape signs, as well as two permanent signs, may be located on the Events Center’s north elevation. (The original application would have allowed four wallscape signs plus two permanent signs.)

Commission member Karen DeLuccie and commission vice chairman Pat Campbell expressed concerns in allowing up to six signs on one side of the Events Center. DeLuccie also said she was concerned about adopting special rules since the city of Independence was the applicant.

“It’s a beautiful building,” said Campbell, adding that he disliked knowing exactly where additional facade signage would be placed. “I just don’t want us to junk it up and overcommercialize it.”

The Events Center site also will include a digital marquee sign, though it was excluded from Tuesday night’s application. The Planning Commission had approved the marquee sign in March 2008 as part of the Events Center’s final site plan. Brent Thiessen, Missouri Mavericks president and general manager, also spoke in favor of the special sign district for the Mavericks as the Events Center’s primary tenant and as its benefits for secondary tenants.    

According to Young, the approved sign district will replace temporary advertising that has taken place on semi-trailers and other vehicles in the Events Center parking lot. The additional signs will save the Events Center “a lot of extra money” in advertising and marketing costs, Young said.

“I don’t really think that the digital billboard and this is too much by any means,” he said. “I think if you look at facilities across the nation, you’ll see a lot of signs, both digital billboards and fixed signage. People really like it – it gives them a little more of a sense of home and what’s coming up.”