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Greater Boston Food Bank proposes digitizing its billboards

Posted by Patrick Rosso  October 10, 2013 12:55 PM

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(Image courtesy Google maps)


The approximate location of the billboards.


The push to digitize billboards across Boston has come to Newmarket as the Greater Boston Food Bank looks to digitize the two billboards that sit atop its main distribution center.

Located at 70 South Bay Ave., the property is in a commercial/industrial area and sits across from South Boston separated by I-93. The billboards, which are connected, can be seen from South Boston, but are most visible to drivers on the freeway.

A representative from the food bank, as well as a representative from RSA Media, the organization that administers the billboards, were before the Andrew Square Civic Association Wednesday night to lay out the details of the possible conversion.

“The height and structure won’t change, the only thing that will change is the face of the billboard,” explained Susan Connor, an account manager for RSA.

If the Greater Boston Food Bank were ever to move from the location the rights to the billboards would also go with them, according to Connor.

Cheryl Schondek, the vice president of food acquisition for the non-profit organization, told association members that the conversion would allow the food bank to bring in more money for its work.

“It’s a way for us to get more money for our programs without having to go to donors,” Schondek said.

Although Schondek did not have exact figures, she estimated that digitizing the billboards could bring in an additional $33,000 for the food bank’s programs.

Schondek added that the digital billboards could also be used by emergency services in addition to having space set aside for a community use, such as advertising local events.

At Wednesday’s meeting four of the 11 members in attendance voted to support the conversion with those dissenting raising concerns about setting precedent, distracted drivers, and adding a “Las Vegas feel" to the strip of freeway.

Discussions on the conversion are expected to continue next week as proponents plan to meet with the nearby McCormack Civic Association October 15. The conversion will also be vetted by the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals, which is expected to discuss the matter October 22.

Clear Channel, another billboard operator, was recently in Dorchester to pitch a plan to convert a Vin Hillern Street billboard owned by the MBTA to digital. To read more click here.

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Email Patrick D. Rosso, patrick.d.rosso@gmail.com. Follow him @PDRosso, or friend him on Facebook.

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