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Tulsa Church's Proposed New Sign Stirs Controversy

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Tulsa Church's Proposed New Sign Stirs Controversy Tulsa Church's Proposed New Sign Stirs Controversy
TULSA, Oklahoma -

A debate is brewing in a midtown Tulsa neighborhood over plans for a church's new sign.

The New Haven United Methodist Church wants to update its image with a new LED sign.

But some neighbors are saying no.

Jill Sledge loves to sit on her front porch with her husband at night and look at the neighborhood church across the street.

"I mean, obviously, the church is beautiful," Sledge says.

But she's worried that a new sign might ruin that view.

"To sit there, to see the sign on or off, is a bit of a bummer for us," Sledge says.

The church is proposing an LED screen about eight-feet long, two-and-a-half feet high, displaying church and neighborhood announcements.

The city says it received 18 submitted comments on this proposal. All but one of them negative.

"We're not going to do anything gaudy, or terrible, that wouldn't reflect the community," says music minister Stephen Merrick.

Merrick says he knows neighbors are concerned, but says a church committee has been carefully planning the new design for more than a year.

He's hoping a new image could bring in new faces.

"It's pretty out-of-date, and we definitely want to reflect what's going on in the church, which is vibrant and relevant in the community," Merrick says. "And we want to show a little bit outside what's going on inside."

Neighbors like Sledge are worried about resale values, and safety at this busy intersection, right between Harvard and Yale on 56th Street.

She says drivers don't need more distraction.

"It's the middle of a neighborhood, it's not a busy street," Sledge says. "Do you really need an LED flashing sign?"

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