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Looking for a sign: Dixon leaders hope to give city a plug along I-88

BY RACHEL RODGERS rrodgers@saukvalley.com 815-625-3600, ext. 5529 @rj_rodgersDecember 25, 2018

DIXON – The city is hoping to expand what it can advertise on Interstate 88 to be more attractive to visitors and potential new businesses.

Dixon’s I-88 exit signage can feature hotels and attractions such as the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home, but the city isn’t allowed to advertise for food, gas or retail because of a contract that the Illinois Tollway has with management firm Oasis, which has several travel pavilions along the tollway system, including facilities in DeKalb and Belvidere.

The stretch of I-88 in Rock Falls is unaffected by the contract.

Mayor Li Arellano Jr. and state Rep. Tom Demmer are working with the tollway in hopes of the agency negotiating with Oasis to allow Dixon more advertising options.

“It’s a big deal to our community that we’ve been blocked off,” Arellano said.

Potential developers looking at property in the I-88 corridor have also expressed concerns about signage, he said, making the issue an impediment to economic development.

Next month, the City Council will likely vote on a resolution in favor of being able to advertise more attractions, and Arellano said the next step will be to organize with other cities limited with their signage to lobby the tollway.

“Hopefully we can make this happen,” he said. “You can’t have a good rest stop without letting people know it’s there.”

The council also is discussing having new welcome signs and “thank you for visiting” signs in town, but has not decided on locations.

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