Tryon considers saddle for Morris advertising

Published 2:11 pm Monday, January 14, 2013

A new Morris the Horse is bringing a new way of advertising so banners don’t harm the new statue.

Tryon officials are currently considering creating a saddle for advertising signs to be placed on the statue.

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Morris was recently rebuilt after a fundraising effort and the Morris committee asked town council during its November meeting not to allow advertising on the new statue for fear of damage.

Committee members suggested that advertising be done with an easel near Morris instead of on Morris.

Tryon Town Manager Caitlin Martin said the planning board has heard ideas including placing a saw horse near Morris when signs are up, requiring advertisers to create their own stand-alone sign or creating a Morris-sized blanket for all organizations to attach their signs to with a material such as Velcro.

The Morris blanket or saddle seems to be the most popular idea, which would only be worn while advertising a local event.

“We have not come to any formal conclusion but this seems to be the most favored alternative,” Martin said. “My main concern is I want to keep people from nailing/stapling signs to him like have been done in the past.”

Morris was found during the restoration to be seriously damaged from water mainly because some advertisements over the years had been nailed to the statue, which caused holes in the wooden structure and internal water damage and wasps.

Martin said despite belief, the statue is still wooden.

During Tryon’s planning and zoning board meeting held Thursday, Jan. 10, Martin told members she is currently taking advertisements on Morris case-by-case. Currently, the Thermal Belt Friendship Council is advertising this Friday’s Martin Luther King Jr. celebration on the statue and Martin said she allowed the sign as long as the organization placed something soft under it.

Martin told the planning board she is trying to get an estimate on what a saddle design will cost and how large the saddle needs to be.

Tryon Fire Chief and code enforcer Joey Davis suggested the town measure the Tryon Riding and Hunt Club’s Steeplechase sign to get an idea of size. The Tryon Riding and Hunt Club donated Morris to the town and advertises equestrian events such as the annual Steeplechase in April.

Council members also discussed in November the possibility of charging or asking for donations from advertisers in order to do routine maintenance on the new statue.