Philadelphia City Council considers advertising on all city-owned property

Philadelphia City Council will consider adding advertising to city-owned property.
Philadelphia City Council will consider adding advertising to city-owned property.
Rikard Larma/Metro

Cheering on the Philadelphia Flyers toward a Stanley Cup championship back in 1997, the city ornamented the William Penn statue above City Hall with a personalized orange and black jersey.

If a bill championed by City Council President Darrel Clarke is approved, corporations could have a shot at dressing up Billy’s likeness with their own logos and gear in an attempt by officials to raise money for the cash-strapped city.

The bill, while it did not directly state what civic buildings would and wouldn’t be prohibited from advertisements, did state advertising could be added on any city-owned properties.

Clarke said all signs would require approval from city council.

“I think having the city of Philadelphia engaged in that process would actually enhance the ability to have it done tastefully,” he said.

Clarke says the city has “hundreds of municipally owned properties that are attractive to advertisers.” He claims “tasteful” advertising on city buildings can generate millions in revenue. He wouldn’t say whether major city buildings, like City Hall, is off limits.

Clarke is targeting bus shelters, information kiosks, trash receptacles and trucks and public restrooms for advertising.

“I don’t want this to seem like we’re targeting buildings,” he said.

Clarke says the historical significance of a venue will be taken into consideration when  approving signage.

One woman isn’t so sure.

“Considering and prohibiting are two different words,” said Mary Tracy of Scenic Philadelphia. “Our city spaces belong to the public it doesn’t belong to city council. … and it doesn’t belong to the billboard industry.”

Clarke proposed a similar bill last year, but it didn’t go far. The Flyers fell to the New Jersey Devils in 1997.

Is Billy trying to tell the city something?

“You’ll lose,” Tracy said.


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