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Pittsburgh Ponders Electronic Billboards

Council considers rescinding Steel City ban

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According to a September 28 Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article, the Steel City’s council is mulling legislation that would eliminate the current moratorium and establish size and placement regulations for electronic message centers. It would also greenlight the replacement of some vinyl billboards with electronic models.

The ongoing controversy stems from a 2007 agreement reached between Lamar Outdoor Advertising and the city’s Parking Authority to erect a 1,900-sq.-ft. message board at the Grant St. Transportation Center, which includes a 991-spot parking lot. Several city-council members and local organizations protested its installation. When it was discovered that Urban Redevelopment Authority Director Pat Ford had accepted gifts from a Lamar executive, council responded with a moratorium on electronic-message centers. Earlier this year, Lamar removed the Grant Street message center.

At a September 27 Pittsburgh City Council meeting, a consortium of business and nonprofit-organization leaders spoke before the group about the importance of the billboards to their economic vitality. Mel Blount, a former Pittsburgh Steeler defensive back (and Hall of Famer) who now runs the Mel Blount Youth Home in Claysville, said, “There’s no way we’d be able to do the things that we do to reach out and help young people without the support of organizations like Lamar Advertising.”
 

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