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This space for rent again

With elections out of the way, city Accounts Commissioner John Franck has rekindled the concept of ad revenue in city parking garages to spur local business and bolster city coffers.

Both the Church and Putnam street paring decks have been racking up costly repairs. Frank provided 40-year projections that showed more than $833,000 in anticipated repairs to the Putnam Street deck and $607,570 in repairs to Church Street at the city council meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 15.

The city plan is to provide signage with a focus on local advertisers but also seek out regional and national ads. On monthly rate fees ranging from $150 per month for local ads, $50 for regional and $750 monthly for national ads, Franck projects as much as $82,800 in revenue.

That money will be used to fund additional road and parking deck repairs and minimize the impact to taxpayers.

This is property tax relief. It will defray future maintenance of the structures, Franck said.

Last year, Franck let fly his ad rates and received interest from four national advertisers, he said. While national ads will certainly be able to round out shortcomings if city businesses don't buy signs, the initial focus will be on getting those area businesses first.

If fleshed out, the garages could be adorned with as many as 46 signs. Other council members wanted to be sure they weren't employing methods otherwise unavailable to any business or building owners in the city.

"Are we going to be doing something that we don't allow our businesses to do?" asked Finance Commissioner Kenneth Ivins.

Ivins wanted to be sure that the city wouldn't be met with legal issues surrounding public property advertising private business. And that the city was standing by its own sign ordinances.

Deputy Commissioner of Accounts Michele Boxley assured Ivins and council members that they had cleared those hurdles with the Outdoor Advertising Association of America.

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