“Iowa’s Sportsman’s Paradise” Selects Watchfire Signs for New Community Message Center

Watchfire Signs has been selected by the city of Ventura, Iowa, for a new digital message center located at the Ventura Community Center.

Ventura is nicknamed “Iowa’s Sportsman’s Paradise” because of its popularity for hunting, fishing and boating. A small community of 717 residents located along Clear Lake in Northern Iowa, Ventura’s seasonal population quadruples when outdoor enthusiasts flock to the area.

Several years ago, city officials invested in a digital message center at the city’s community center as a vehicle to announce community news, including highlighting the many weddings that take place at the center. The community center is located in the hub of the community and the message center is viewable from a busy intersection along the lake route. However, the sign began experiencing problems right away and eventually had to be replaced.

“From the moment the sign was installed it was nothing but frustration,” said Else Taylor, Ventura City Administrator. “We had constant communications issues with software delivering updates to the sign, little to no support service from the manufacturer, and the software was not user friendly. I actually dreaded having to update it.”

When the message center failed and couldn’t be repaired, Taylor found that the town really missed having a sign to highlight events, and elected officials began pushing for a replacement. After a lot of research, the city selected Watchfire to manufacture the new message center.

Cedar River Signs Inc. of Charles City, Iowa, was able to retrofit the original concrete structure housing the message center with a new 10mm 3’5” x 6’3” full color Watchfire display.

Now the message center is used to provide residents and visitors information on fishing and boating, elections, weddings, fish fries and other events. During the pandemic, the city has been able to program messages encouraging social distancing, including one that recommends “two fishing poles between people.”

“I am blown away by how easy it is to program the Watchfire sign,” said Taylor. “The software is user-friendly, and I’m having fun using animation. I’m just sorry I didn’t go with Watchfire the first time.”

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