Digital billboard lights up Land O’ Lakes

The digital age of outdoor advertising is coming to central Pasco.

Motorists may be familiar with a two-sided “Tri-Vision” billboard on U.S. 41, north of State Road 54. The Champion Outdoor billboard flips through a trio of advertisements on each side, as slats rotate and marketing messages change.

But, the area’s first digital billboard is being installed on the west side of the apex where Dale Mabry Highway and U.S. 41 meet, in front of the WalMart Super Store, according to county permitting records.

Workers are installing a digital billboard for Clear Channel Outdoor at 1714 Dale Mabry Highway, in front of a Walmart Super Store.
(Kathy Steele)

Thousands of motorists pass through the juncture at North Dale Mabry Highway and U. S. 41 daily, making it a prime site for outdoor advertisers.

The location is one of four digital locations in Pasco County planned by Clear Channel Outdoor, Inc. as the company moves ahead on the digital campaign it began about nine months ago in the county.

Another location in central Pasco is slated for digital at 6027 Wesley Grove Blvd., in Wesley Chapel.

Activity in west Pasco also is changing the billboard landscape.

Permits for demolition of several static billboards and installation of two digital billboards happened in 2017 at 2310 U.S. 19 in Holiday, and on State Road 54, east of Little Road, in New Port Richey, according to county records.

A representative of Clear Channel couldn’t be reached for comment.

The Pasco County Commission approved an ordinance in early 2017 to allow permitting of new billboards as part of a strategy to reduce visual blight on the county’s major corridors. Until then, a ban on new billboards had been in effect for about 17 years.

Outdoor advertising representatives lobbied for the ordinance, which allowed new billboards and established rules for converting static to digital billboards. Provisions also were included for Tri-Vision billboards.

It took nearly two years of negotiations to strike that bargain.

County representatives wanted to eliminate a glut of static billboards dotting the roadways, including those in disrepair. Outdoor advertising representatives wanted to get their digital messages in front of passing motorists.

Clear Channel, OUTFRONT Media and The Champion Family of Companies participated in crafting the ordinance.

So far, Clear Channel in its agreement with Pasco has removed about 8,220 square feet of static billboard advertising. During the next months, another approximately 8,220 square feet will be taken down by Clear Channel, according to data provided by Pasco County.

The ordinance targeted billboards on major roadways including segments of State Road 54, U.S. 41, U.S 19, State Road 52 and Interstate 75.

A cap permits a maximum of 37 digital billboards in the county, with more digital allowed in some areas than others.

County officials estimated about 190 static billboards would be eliminated through the new regulations.

Some sites are off limits to digital including The Heart of Land O’ Lakes Vision Plan, Connerton New Town, the Villages of Pasadena Hills Stewardship District, and the State Road 52 gateway into Dade City.

Published July 11, 2018

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