By MARISSA PENN
The Rye City Council is considering granting permission to for-profit organizations such as the Rye Little League to post banners in the City of Rye.
Several local nonprofits, such as the Down to Earth Farmer’s Market, the Rye YMCA and the Rye Arts Center, have been given permission to post banners.
At the council’s Aug. 4 meeting, Rye’s Little League asked for permission to put banners up on the outfield walls during its season, which is fast approaching. The banners would endorse its sponsors and recognize its funders.
According to Interim City Manager Frank Culross, this has never been done before and “the law is silent on the issue of whether allowing the Little League to put up banners would violate the code.”
Historically, the Rye City Council has allowed not-for-profits that gain approval to put up banners downtown. Permission had to be sought by the director of the not-for-profit and then approved by the council.
The first local not-for-profit to start the recent trend is the farmer’s market, Down to Earth. Its banners can be seen along the main drag of Purchase Street. The market is only open on Sunday, but the banners serve as a reminder to Rye residents and those passing through.
In addition to the Farmer’s Market, the local YMCA recently celebrated its centennial, for which blue banners were gracefully hung on the porch of the original YMCA cottage. Rye YMCA Director of Communications Lisa Tidball said the banners were strictly celebratory.
Two weeks ago, the Rye Arts Center also received council approval to post banners beginning in late August for an upcoming exhibit.
The center is a community-based, nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire interest and maximum participation in the arts in Westchester and the surrounding area. The center’s director, Helen Gates, said the banners could actually boost Rye’s economy. “The cultural economy is tied to downtown. The Rye Art’s Center brings people downtown and into the community who would not otherwise visit,” Gates said. “It is a win-win situation.”
Starting in late August, the arts center will have a banner downtown promoting its latest exhibit by local artist
Culross said he distinguished banners used by nonprofits from Rye’s Little League.
“It has not been done before and all that the non-for-profits have done is bring attention to what’s going on and events, but have not advertised for a profit.” Culross said. “It has not been decided what we will do, and Rye locals can attend the public hearing at a date that we are unsure of at this time.”