Proposed "Welcome to" sign in Kewaskum faces a road block of regulations

KEWASKUM -- Leaders in one community want to be able to "welcome" motorists who drive through their village. But they are effectively facing a road block of regulations. This entire issue is about those "Welcome to" signs you often see along the road -- and where communities should be allowed to place them.

Officials in the Village of Kewaskum would love to have a "Welcome to" sign be the first thing you seen when approaching their hometown.

Kevin Scheunemann

"It gives the brand identity to the village and invites people that Kewaskum is the gateway to the Kettle Moraine State Forest," said Kevin Scheunemann, village president.

But the problem is, the welcome sign is no longer in the right spot.

"This was the border of the village about 12 years ago. This was the original southern border," said Scheunemann.

The border has since moved about a mile south. Village officials would like to either move the sign to the current border or make a new, similar one to place on the spot. But current Wisconsin Department of Transportation regulations treat welcome signs as advertising -- and therefore require them to be off the highway right-of-way.

"Because the DOT prohibits 'welcome to' signs in right-of-ways, we can't move it. It's essentially stuck right here," said Scheunemann.

That sign happens to sit on a little piece of private property next to the highway right-of-way, which is why it is allowed to be where it is. But travel a mile south to the village's new entrance.

"Unfortunately, we don't have this sliver of land down by the new border," said Scheunemann.

Current regulations would allow the community to place an enhanced political boundary sign or a community population sign in the right-of-way along the new border. But the village president said those would lack the branding his community desires.

"If we just had a generic population sign with Kewaskum population 4004, we're like every other community in the state," said Scheunemann.

Scheunemann tells FOX6 News he is hopeful state lawmakers will step up and help the community out by changing the rule.