Saratoga commissioner outlines plan for parking-garage ads

Accounts Commissioner John Franck has proposed a unique use for the city's parking garages advertising space.

Franck, in a presentation made to the City Council on Tuesday, Jan. 16, proposed the city's parking garages could generate revenue instead of costing the city money in maintenance fees.

The commissioner proposes to sell billboard-style advertisement space in the 210-space Church Street and 186-space Putnam Street garages. The ads, Franck said, would be placard-type signs, placed vertically and horizontally on beams and open wall spaces in the parking facilities.

Advertising rates would be on a sliding scale, with the lowest rates offered to local companies. According to the rough numbers Franck presented to the City Council last week, local companies would pay $250 a month for a sign, while regional and national businesses would be charged $500 and $750 per month, respectively.

Down in Manhattan they're getting $1,200 a month for a similar sized sign," Franck said.

Franck said he has received a particularly good response from local and national companies including dentists, law firms, real estate companies and restaurants.

Pointing to the cover of a local phone directory, Franck told the City Council that these are entities that are already spending big money for advertising that might be less effective.

Dawn Oesch, president of the Downtown Business Association, said Franck's prices are in the organization's ballpark.

"I think that's a reasonable amount of money," she said. "That's about the norm, especially for that kind of exposure."

Oesch said some of the downtown business people may not be able to afford it " herself included " but some are spending more than that now on less lucrative advertising outlets.

The Church and Putnam Street garages would both have six signs mounted on interior walls. Additionally, 10-feet-long by 2-feet-high ads would line the beams near the garage ceiling, with 18 at Church Street and 16 at Putnam Street. The signs would have a Victorian look and feel consistent with existing signage and architecture, he said. The space is considered to be indoors, thus the city's ban on outdoor advertisements does not apply.

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