By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
You can show school spirit all you want in Rumson. Just keep it off the lawn.
A request that had sailed through in Fair Haven didn’t make the cut in Rumson Tuesday night, when the borough council rejected a request from a couple of moms to sell lawn signs to raise money for the Rumson-Fair Haven boys lacrosse program.
The reasons, council members said: one, it’s against local ordinance, and two, if they lifted the ban, it could set a precedent for cluttered frontyards throughout town. And that, you know, is not how Rumson rolls.
“You could literally have hundreds of signs in town,” Mayor John Ekdahl said. “If this caught on, maybe the hockey team could say, hey, this is a great idea. Let’s do it.”
And the council’s job, Ekdahl said, is to keep Rumson “looking clean and sharp.” So if the the governing body won’t let a painter stake his or her sign on a lawn, it can’t let an independent group, no matter how altruistic its intention, do the same.
The two women, Susan Sorensen and Christine Moore, both of Fair Haven, were looking to sell 24-inch by 18-inch signs, similar to political campaign signs, to call out the homes of R-FH Bulldog seniors. The signs read, “A Senior Dawg Lives Here,” with the R-FH bulldog’s face jumping into the right side of the frame.
They intended to sell the signs from March to May, when lacrosse season ends, they said.
About 50 signs were printed, with the idea that the sale proceeds would offset the cost of the boys lacrosse program, which is self-supported.
“We get zero funding from the school. We’ve got to raise $30,000 every year so our boys can play,” Sorensen said. “I don’t want to see all the lawns littered with the baseball, the basketball, everything. We’re looking just to raise money this year and help offset some of these funds that we have to raise.”
Fair Haven’s council gave a thumbs-up to Sorensen and company’s proposition Monday night. But Rumson, which Ekdahl said is “hyper” about lawn signs, wouldn’t budge.
The team will have to find other ways to raise money, which, Sorensen said, is already happening. The senior class wanted to do something different with the signs outside of the traditional route of selling brownies and school blankets to raise funds.
But thinking outside the box to the lawn, at least won’t pay off here.
Moore said the signs will be sold in Fair Haven despite Rumson’s denial. Then, she said, people will start wondering why one town’s grass is, ahem, greener than the others.
“You may have Rumson residents down and saying, why aren’t you supporting your kids?” she said.