Globes and Flags Tangle in Downtown Area

July 9, 2013

Sedalia residents may soon see a slight change in the utility poles downtown after concerns about American flags breaking the pole’s glass globes were brought to light Monday.

In 2010 city officials spoke with members of the 40 & 8 Voiture 333 about hanging flags on South Ohio Avenue to coincide with the city’s streetscape project which replaced all the lightpoles with new, decorative ones. The original agreement between the 40 & 8 and Kansas City Power and Light Company — which owns and maintains the poles — was that the flags were allowed as long as they didn’t cause damage to the poles or glass globes which house the lights. In the past few years, heavy winds have caused the flags to sometimes get caught on the globes’ top fixtures, putting weight on the globes and breaking them.

“We want to keep the flags. They bring a lot of character to downtown, but we have to figure out a way to make sure they’re not breaking the globes,” said KCP&L Local Supervisor Tracy Bryant. “My supervisors are pushing to cut costs as much as I can and it’s costing us $277 per globe if it breaks.”

There was some debate about how many globes had been broken; Bryant said he had been told by his workers it was between eight and 10 this year while 40 & 8 Treasurer Don Barbour thought the number was closer to five. Rising costs to maintain the flags were also a concern to the 40 & 8.

“There’s a lot of wind coming down Ohio and those flags get torn up pretty badly,” said member Larry Brooks, who maintains the flags. “If the wind ropes it around the top of the globe badly enough, we have to cut the flag off.”

“We’re spending $33 a piece on the flags and we’ve had a lot of generous help from the community to afford that, but the tops (of the globes) rip up the flags, too. We’d like to see them last as long as they can of course,” Barbour added.

The groups discussed possible solutions to the problems, including extending the flag pole, but ultimately decided to go with a simple solution of switching out the globes to ones that did not have decorative tops.

“I think we can switch them out and still maintain the look of the old ones. That will save us from them breaking and should save you from having to replace torn flags so often,” Bryant said. “We probably won’t be able to change them all at once, but if there are two or three broken on one block, we could come in a replace them all.”

Bryant said the cost would be handled by KCP&L.