Digital Sign Used to Improve Communications


Watchfire-ShawneeTownshipShawnee Township is a close-knit community located near Lima, Ohio. They have about 12,000 engaged residents who like to know what’s going on in town, so effective communication is important. For many years, they had a wooden sign that quickly showed age and wear.

It required frequent painting and maintenance, and it didn’t allow for sending messages to residents. When they first replaced the wooden sign, they chose a traditional letter board thinking it would fit the bill. But the letter board became cumbersome and inefficient when employees would have to change messages frequently.

Missy Van Meter, administrative assistant of Shawnee Township, made it her mission to replace the community’s traditional letter board with a new LED sign. She knew that it would not only make changing messages so much easier, but it would also attract more attention, ultimately getting important messages out to more residents.

After doing research, Van Meter decided that a Watchfire digital LED sign was exactly what they needed. “One sign dealer brought out a demo truck with two signs, and they were so vivid, we were convinced,” she said.

Van Meter picked the sign design she wanted right then and there.

The Shawnee Township complex houses police, fire, dispatch, roads, and administration. The sign benefits all of those groups, which made it an easy sell. It didn’t take long to convince the board of directors that an LED sign would benefit them in two ways: it would allow them to quickly and easily communicate important messages to the residents, and it would reduce the number of calls the administration office receives with questions about things like brush pick-up, fire hydrant maintenance, policies and more.

“The sign went up in September 2010, and it was beautiful!” said Van Meter. “Within a short time, we received more than one hundred calls from residents complimenting us on it! It’s also so easy to program and change messages, which is a huge benefit. That sign was my baby, and I just adored it.”

We say “was” because on January 25, 2011, they lost their sign to an auto accident. “The sign was totaled, and I mean completely. Repair wasn’t an option. The only thing we could do was replace it,” said Van Meter.

After the accident took out the sign, people started calling wondering where the sign was. Some people even commented on the township’s new Facebook page. One woman wrote, “Sure miss that sign….”

Van Meter and the board decided to turn lemons into lemonade. They upgraded the totaled sign with an even bigger Watchfire sign. On April 5, 2011, they installed the second sign. According to Van Meter, it has been great. “The main goal of the sign was to reach more people with messages about township information and events, and the sign most definitely delivers. If I had my way, I’d have an even bigger sign out there,” she said. “It’s fantastic, and we’re thrilled with the outcome.”