Council To Consider Route 4 Billboards

Lamar Advertising makes a presentation to the Town Council at its Monday meeting for two billboards near the high school.

The Town Council Monday night heard a representative of Lamar Advertising, a billboard company with offices in East Providence, propose erecting two billboards along town-owned property on Route 4 next to the high school.

Lamar proposed two options, one that would include one electronic and one static billboard and one that would be just two static billboards.

In Lamar’s proposal, the company would pay East Greenwich $207,600 a year for one “static” (i.e. old-school) board and one electronic board. It would offer $73,800 a year in rent for two static-only boards. The rent would increase, according to both proposals, every 4 years for 20 years.

“What we’re going to do tonight is listen,” said Council President Michael Isaacs. “We are not going to take a vote.” Rather, he said, he wanted to get a sense of what council members were thinking.

Councilman Mark Gee was eager to share his thoughts.

"I am astounded that we could consider this offer," he began. "Let’s not sell our souls just because we need to raise revenue. I’m astounded that we would take a beautiful greenway … and do that."

He continued, "That would be a huge, huge, inconceivable mistake."

Gee also raised concerns about electronic billboards, saying they were a "hazard to navigation."

Other councilors were not so critical. Isaacs said he wanted to see the proposal through, and Councilman Mike Kiernan said the money raised could help pay for things like road repairs.

The two billboards would measure 14 feet by 48 feet and they would be double-faced.

The Lamar spokesman, Chris Cockerill, said the electronic billboard would not be flashing. Rather, he said, it would provide stationary screen changes every 10 seconds.

There will have to be a public hearing on the proposal before the Town Council can act. No date has yet been determined for the hearing.

Carl I. Hoyer June 27, 2012 at 11:14 AM
Query: As much as I dislike involving the state, given the fact that traffic on a state road is to be the recipient of the "messages", I can't help but wonder if they also should be involved? On a more personal note, remember "Ladybird" Johnson and her objections to bill boards? I'm with her and feel we don't need to commmericialize our highways, thereby detracting from the beauty of the countryside. Also, I feel there is a safety issue as they can be a distraction. Finally, while I don't advocate it, I would rather see ads on the side of a school bus; at least they're out of sight at the end of the school day. 'nuff said!
ratcat1 June 27, 2012 at 12:11 PM
NO !!!!!
Deb Cardullo June 27, 2012 at 12:25 PM
Please, no!!!
Mutato June 27, 2012 at 12:30 PM
It will be horrible. And once they are installed, you will NEVER be able to remove them. I feel for families who live alongside the Rte 4 who might be seeing the glow of the electronic one. But also the ugly backside of these as well.
Naomi Martino June 27, 2012 at 12:45 PM
To Elizabeth (the reporter); Could you please make it a headline story when they set the date for the hearing for the public proposal? I think this will be a very important meeting for the people of EG to voice their opinions. Thanks
Elizabeth McNamara (Editor) June 27, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Absolutely, Naomi!
Christopher Fluehr June 27, 2012 at 01:15 PM
Frankly, in this day and age of cable TV, the internet/e-mail, smartphones, Facebook and Twitter, we should be considering tearing down billboards rather then putting them up. Do we really need this archaic method of advertising obstructing views across this country when there are many more effective and potentially cheaper methods available? I know there are some consumers that aren't totally "plugged in" but I'd have to wonder if targeting that audience in this area would be worth the cost of the billboard alone without even considering the deleterious effect on the landscape.
mbro June 27, 2012 at 01:25 PM
As a resident of Pine Wood I totally oppose this project. I would hope our personal fiscal contribution to East Greenwich is enough, who wants the glow of billboards? is this Pawtucket?
laura June 27, 2012 at 01:29 PM
No, no, no.....keep it out!
Naomi Martino June 27, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Christopher, well put considering they are talking "20 years" down the road. Can you imagine the technology we'll have in 20 yrs? I don't think billboards will be on the top of the list for advertisers to spend their money on.
Lee R. Whitaker June 27, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Approval of this request to "junk up" the landscape "for a few dollars more" will cement this Town Council's legacy in ways I'm sure all five council members will not want to be remembered.
Heather Larkin June 27, 2012 at 02:16 PM
no, no, no, no, no!!! Let's not be reduced to selling our souls for a few road repairs.
Julie D'Amico June 27, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Sharyn Iannuccilli June 27, 2012 at 02:56 PM
We have gone to great lengths to keep our town beautiful and preserve a hometown we are proud of. I certainly hope our council continues this practice and rejects this proposal. Sharyn Iannuccilli
sue lewis June 27, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Dumbest comments yet from town councilor Kiernan, is he totally out of touch with the rest of the community or what ! Terrible concept and shouldn't even be considered.
Paul Alexander June 27, 2012 at 07:34 PM
I would not want to see billboards with "ten-second stationary screen changes" for the next 20 years. Hope they vote this one down. Paul Alexander
Lynn June 27, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Enough is enough with this town council and the previous ones ruining our town...so many bad decisions, making this town become less and less attractive to all of us. I think any of the town council that is actually considering this and going to vote for this ridiculous "thing" should be recalled immediately and never allowed to run for any office in this town again.
jane June 27, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Thank you. Mark Gee!
Judy Bailey June 28, 2012 at 02:13 AM
Carl,I always enjoy your words of wisdom but I must remind you of one thing. Lady Bird Johnson introduced many invasive plants as part of her beautification crusade. We are still trying to get rid of some. I do agree with your suggestions . Just had to vent about Lady Bird.
Judy Bailey June 28, 2012 at 02:16 AM
Lee Whitaker!! How are you?
Sick of Whiners June 28, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Really....typical comments from people who live inside a bubble!
LORAX June 29, 2012 at 02:43 AM
Sick of Whiners June 29, 2012 at 12:53 PM
LORAX like i said before BUBBLE!!
Sick of Whiners June 29, 2012 at 12:57 PM
Seriously people. Do we not have much more pressing issues to worry about? Oh yeah I forgot this is East Greenwich billboards are important!
Carl I. Hoyer July 01, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Dear "Sick..." I've lived here for 45 years, served on the School Committee and the Town Council and kind of like it here as well as happening to think the Town is well run (well, most of the time). If you don't like it here, you're free to go elsewhere. And, by the way, it was the billboard company that made the proposal, and while the matter may not be a ..."pressing issue"..., about which to..."worry".., Council is somewhat obliged to hear the request. IF the matter gets to the public hearing stage, it'll be interesting to view reactions then.


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