EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

April 26, 2014

Smashed windshield latest black eye for banners

Damage results in removal of downtown sign

ANDOVER — Not again.

A banner strung over Main Street advertising next month’s Town Meeting became dislodged from its anchors and flailed in the high winds sometime overnight last week, shattering the windshield of a parked car below, according to police.

It is the second time a banner hung near Elm Square has given way. The first banner gave out, too, putting a hole in a nearby shop window last year.

“It’s a sad day that we in Andover couldn’t figure out how to put a banner up,” said Mark Spencer, the former photography shop owner who has pushed for the hanging of a banner over Main Street for much of his adult life.

Town Manager Reginald “Buzz” Stapczynski said the sign was removed after the anchors on one side of it failed.

“The strong winds created a sail effect on the banner,” he said.

He referred all calls to Ed Ataide of the Plant and Facilities Department, who could not be reached.

According to the police log for April 16, a “town election sign fell and shattered a motor vehicle window.” The report came in at 6:35 a.m.

It is just the latest in a long line of setbacks for banner supporters.

In September, a banner advertising Andover Day also failed, sending a metal clip flying through the air and smashing into the second-floor window of Cristina’s Bridal at 1 Main St.

After that, banners were banned until the town could undertake a study to determine the best way to hang them to prevent them from failing and damaging property or, more importantly, injuring pedestrians below.

Over the winter, Spencer worked with town officials to come up with a better way to hang the banners. But, apparently, that method could not stand up to the high winds that blew through town last week, which were similar to the gusts that damaged the banner in September.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Merrimack Valley

Eagle-Tribune News Videos
Photos of the Week