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Iowa DOT says local business needs to remove sign

Willy's Nillies off of Highway 65 in Northwood hasn't even been open a year yet and they are now being told by the Iowa Department of Transportation that a sign on their property must be removed.

Posted: Nov. 2, 2017 8:52 AM
Updated: Nov. 2, 2017 11:28 AM

NORTHWOOD, Iowa- Willy's Nillies off of Highway 65 in Northwood hasn't even been open a year yet and they are now being told by the Iowa Department of Transportation that a sign on their property must be removed.

"The sign was put there by my husband and kids as a joke," says Patti Trenhaile, the store owner. "It is actually a rocket and after a few months of being open i decided to put our Facebook information on it as well as our hours."

Those with the Iowa DOT say the sign is violating a federal law known as the Beautification Act of 1965. The idea of the law was to try and make the state highway more attractive to drive, but Trenhaile says the law is out of date.

"It’s not good for business," she says. "It’s not good for anybody that’s trying to do a small business that you can’t have a sign on your own property."

"It is the state's job to enforce regulations that the federal government has laid out," says Pete Hjelmstad, Iowa DOT Field Services Coordinator.

Hjelmstad says not enforcing this law, as harmless as this sign is, could have much bigger consequences.

"If we do not enforce the laws of the state the state can lose 10% of their highway funding," he says. "10% of the states highway funding would be about $51 million."

Trenhaile says she has been working with the state to try and rectify the situation and says she hopes to have reached an agreement.

"If we put the rocket shooting straight up in the air it can stay," she says. They extended the day we have to move the sign to December 2nd, bu that is still going to be a lot of work."

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