City of Fresno looking at a plan to put digital billboards in Woodward Park and other city properties

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The City Council Thursday agreed to pursue the idea of putting electronic billboards along Highway 41 at Woodward Park. (KFSN)

The City Council Thursday agreed to pursue the idea of putting electronic billboards along Highway 41 at Woodward Park, and at other parks and city properties. The city would make money on the deal, and in exchange for double-sided electronic billboards at five locations, 50 old fashioned billboards throughout the city would be removed.

Putting digital billboards on city property is being advertised as a way to boost city revenues. City Manager Bruce Rudd likes the idea.

"We are looking at an opportunity to generate $325,000 in a one-time signing bonus and a minimum guaranteed payment, annual payment of $378,000."

The proposal by Outfront Media calls for double-sided electronic billboards on city property adjacent to major highways, Woodward Park along Highway 41, sites along Highway 99, along Highway 180, and Highway 168 at Granite Park.

Rudd said the deal offers more than just money.

"Their proposal included the removal of static billboards located throughout the community."

Under the deal about 50 billboards mostly on Blackstone would be taken down. City Council members liked the idea.

"In my opinion, this is a great thing, great additional revenue to the city of Fresno which could be used for parks or other purposes," said Steve Brandau, City Council Member.

Council Members Sal Quintero and Esmerelda Soria pushed to specifically to designate all the billboard money to parks.

"I agree we should look at using these revenues for parks," said Soria.

But Council Member Lee Brand thought public safety and police should get priority.

"If you don't feel safe going out to a park, and there's bullets whizzing by you have to take that into consideration."

Rudd wanted to wait for budget hearings to decide where the money should go, but a majority of the council agreed all the billboard money would go to city parks. That is if the deal wins final approval.

The vote Thursday gives the city manager the authority to begin negotiating a deal with the billboard company. A final proposal is expected to go before the council in about 60 days. The public will have input on the plan before a final vote.

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