By Julie Huss
---- — LONDONDERRY — It won’t be a banner day in Londonderry this summer.
For decades, banners and signs have hung over Mammoth Road, advertising the annual Old Home Day, presidential visits and band celebrations.
The banners won’t be flying anymore because the state is putting a stop to the advertisements.
Town officials were notified recently that hanging banners over state roads is against the law. The ruling cam after officials inquired about hanging a similar sign to advertise another event.
Mammoth Road is officially part of the state-owned byway Route 128, so the banners aren’t not allowed.
The news hit the Old Home Day Committee especially hard; the group has traditionally hung its banner over Mammoth Road for decades.
Other signs and banners have heralded other significant events in town, including visits by President Obama during election season, Marching Lancer Band send-offs and road races.
Acting Town Manager Bill Hart said the signs could pose liability to the town if there were issues with wind causing a sign to tumble or tangle with wires.
Resident Reed Clark asked Hart if it were a question of the wire over Mammoth Road being too low or too high.
Hart said that wasn’t the key issue.
“It’s not a question of high or low,” Hart said. “The state Department of Transportation does not wish to have any impediment across the road at all.”
Hart added other towns are discussing the issue and the role of insurance coverage, too, as banners were previously hung and if they fell, what that might mean for a town’s coverage.
“There are concerns about things going across the road like that,” he said.
For Clark, who is also a member of the Old Home Day Committee, it’s sad news. Banners have celebrated Old Home Day for many years. He questioned why the state would take such action now.
“Since 1946, they haven’t bothered to think about it,” Clark said. “Why are they thinking about it today?
Committee members said they would find an alternative for advertising Old Home Day this year. This year’s celebration is set for Aug 14-18.