Main Street USA Gets Embedded Flag Pole Fixtures

Downtown Marceline Foundation - Welcome to Marceline!

Last year, the Downtown Marceline Foundation, working closely with the City of Marceline, began a project to remove the unsightly and sometimes unsafe feather flag bases from the sidewalks along Main Street USA. Several years ago, the Foundation worked with Main Street businesses to bring the flags to town to increase visibility of merchant’s stores, to help draw attention to potential customers. A lot of businesses took part in the project, and the flags looked great lining the street.

Over the years, the water bags that weighed down the flag bases sprung leaks, making the flags unusable as the very slightest breeze could knock over a flag without water ballast. Some people filled the bags with sand, as it’s more stable, but both masses had the same problem – no one really wanted to move the several pounds of deadweight out to the sidewalk each morning, then back in again at closing. This of course, led merchants to stop using the flags all together, or leaving the base out all the time, causing them to become trip hazards – not to mention being ugly blobs on our beautiful Main Street.

Late in 2023, DMF talked with Richard Hoon, the City Manager, and Adam Lichtenberg, the Street Department Superintendent, about the idea of drilling holes directly into the sidewalk for the feather flags. A main concern was that during the winter months when freezing temperatures come to Marceline, that water in those holes could freeze, expand, and crack the sidewalks. The solution was to insert a metal sleeve into the drilled hole, but that meant welding closed one end of each piece of pipe to make it waterproof. That’s both time consuming and can be difficult to make water-tight. Adam had a great solution of injecting Vulkem – a polyurethane sealant often used to seal sidewalk cracks – into the hole to stop water intrusion into the concrete. By putting a piece of masking tape over one end of the pipe, that stopped the ‘concrete caulking’ from oozing inside of the 6-inch piece of pipe when it was installed.

The Downtown Marceline Foundation contacted all of the existing enterprises on Main Street to find out who would make use of an embedded flag pole fixture, and where they wanted it located. Once there were a few on the list, the pipes were cut, taped, and handed over to Adam. With much thanks to him and the Street Department crews who did the drilling, today businesses on all three blocks of Main Street USA who said they would use their feather flags has an easy way to put their wind banners out to show that they are open and ready for business that day – without having to move a heavy base each time, or leaving a potential risk out on the sidewalk.

Before the 2023/24 winter, a little more than half of the fixtures had been installed. As the big freezes have passed for last year, we’re happy to report that there are no signs of cracking or other damage to the sidewalks caused by this solution. So, the next time you go into a Main Street business, let them know you saw their feather flag and how it might have been helpful in know they were open for business.