Cape Coral: “2 digital billboards added…”

Cape Coral: “2 digital billboards added…”

Photo: WZVN, ABC 7

“…Cape Coral’s skyline on two major roads is changing forever. For the first time, billboards are showing up in the city.

Last summer, the city voted to build two digital boards, and this week, construction crews went up in the air to put them together.

One billboard is at Veterans Parkway at Del Prado Boulevard while the other is at the foot of the Cape Coral Bridge in the southern part of the city.

Residents living near the structures said it felt like they went up overnight.

The digital billboard towering over Veterans Parkway is 75 feet tall and sits right next to a residential street…

Cape Coral city councilors voted in June of 2016 to approve the two projects…

Currently, the city’s sign ordinance doesn’t allow billboards anywhere within city limits. The new structures are an exception to that rule because they will display public information, emergency messages and traffic messages..”

— WZVN, ABC 7

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New job title in Orange County: “Beautification Technician”

New job title in Orange County: “Beautification Technician”

Photos: Stephen Hudak, Orlando Sentinel

“Little things add up, said Ramil Celestin as he plucked a beer carton, a plastic grocery bag and a french fry box off the center lane of Pine Hills Road.

He chucked the trash into the back of a county van stacked with illegal road-side signs that shouted: ‘JUNK CARS’ and ‘DELETE YOUR BAD CREDIT.’ He had snatched up those signs, too.

‘Little things can add up to good, they can add up to bad,’ said Celestin, 57, who has worked for about a year as a ‘beautification technician,’ a title created for the job by Michelle Owens, executive director of the Pine Hills Neighborhood Improvement District.

She will address the Orange County commission…on progress in Pine Hills, one of the county’s largest communities and a place fighting to wipe away the stains of crime and blight.

‘We have a lot of exciting things that are beginning to gel in Pine Hills and, going forward, this is all going to have a huge impact on what people think of when they think of Pine Hills,’ Owens said.

Celestin believes he is making a difference in Pine Hills, where he earns $18 an hour to pick up litter and remove ‘snipe’ advertising signs. He usually works three or four mornings a week.

Celestin, also the CEO of a janitorial business, said he picks up enough trash and litter from the roads and sidewalks of Pine Hills in two mornings to fill up a dumpster.

Ramil Celestin dispose of trash he picked up in Pine Hills as part of the community’s effort to improve its image. He works mornings three or four days under the title ‘beautification technician’ and collects enough garbage in two mornings to fill a Dumpster.

‘It was really filthy, really nasty,’ Celestin said, recalling his first week picking up soda cans, cigarette packages, lottery tickets and fast food litter.

His work is a never-ending chore as a street which he cleans Friday is often trashy again by Monday.

‘But I do my best,’ Celestin said.

The tax-supported improvement district also gave ‘trash grabbers’ to some neighborhood businesses to help them tidy their store fronts.

One shop then chose to hire a homeless man to pick up litter in their parking area every week, Owens said…”
–Stephen Hudak, Orlando Sentinel

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New Location: “Floating billboard makes waves in Destin”

New Location: “Floating billboard makes waves in Destin”

Photo: Michael Snyder, NWF Daily News

DESTIN — A Destin City Councilman says a local advertiser has gone too far with its large LED billboard on the back of a boat he spotted at Crab Island over the weekend.

Parker Destin shared photos and a status on social media Sunday that showed a large boat with a 20 foot-by 30 foot, two-sided LED electronic billboard advertising various businesses. The boat was driving past Crab Island on Sunday.

‘I understand everybody needs to reach an audience, but good grief,’ Destin said. ‘That was a pretty garish and invasive way to do that.’

The councilman said he has fielded calls from Destin residents concerned about the billboard. The city does not have jurisdiction over Crab Island since it is legally state land, Destin said, but he is still worried about the implications of the floating billboard for the city’s image overall.

‘The billboard is probably the most in in-your-face manifestation of what’s occurring (on Crab Island),’ he said. ‘It’s the over-commercialization of our natural resources, which is troubling because they need to be as natural as they can be in order to entice people to come and visit and to entice people to come and reside here’…”

–Annie Blanks, NWF Daily News

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Legal: “Business owner challenges Orange Park ban on inflatable Super Mario”

Legal: “Business owner challenges Orange Park ban on inflatable Super Mario”

Photo: ClickOrlando.com

“…The owner of a video game store is challenging an Orange Park law that prohibits him from setting up an inflatable Super Mario outside his store. Scott Fisher, the owner of Gone Broke Gaming, used a 10-foot inflatable version of the classic video game character last summer to attract attention to his business at 686 Kingsley Ave., but was told to take it down or face a $100-a-day fine.

‘Running a small business isn’t easy from the start,’ Fisher said. ‘Then having the city tell me they’re going to cut some of my profits out from under me in the form of not having my advertising, it kind of hurts.’

Orange Park law bans business owners from installing inflatables or other portable displays that convey a message related to their business. Fisher said his business is set back 30 feet from the street and sales have suffered without the iconic character out front. He said Super Mario drew attention to his small storefront and it became an attraction for both kids and adults.

Fisher’s lawsuit argues that Orange Park’s sign code, one of many similarly restrictive codes across the country, violates the free speech protections of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

In his lawsuit, Fisher claims that he’s allowed to have seasonal decorations, but not ones with a ‘commercial message.’

‘The best idea wins. There could be three or four video game stores in the local area, but if I happen to have the idea to put a Mario in front of mine and it draws more business, that’s exactly what the First Amendment is there to protect,’ Fisher said.

The attorney for the town of Orange Park told News4Jax that he has not seen the lawsuit and he would not be comfortable giving any comment until he has reviewed it.

Princess Toadstool was not available for comment.”

— Chris Parentea, ClickOrlando.com

 
Legal: “Miami Beach tries to ban floating billboards, but company says law can’t touch ocean boats”

Legal: “Miami Beach tries to ban floating billboards, but company says law can’t touch ocean boats”

Photo: Miami New Times

“…A Miami Beach-based company’s take on oceanfront advertising — a boat that hauls back-to-back, 46-foot-wide high-definition screens — hit local beaches months ago. But residents were not pleased with giant roving ads disrupting their views.

‘I mean, I just thought it was ridiculous,’ says Michael DeFilippi, a Miami Beach activist. ‘It was just complete commercialization of our city and really taking away from the natural environment and the peace of the beach.’

Comments about the boat poured in to the environmental-minded Facebook page DeFilippi runs, Clean Up Miami Beach. ‘Is nothing sacred?’ one person asked. DeFilippi, for his part, worried that increasing numbers of billboard-loaded boats would crowd the beaches.

Now Miami Beach has passed a rule banned advertising vessels from some of the waters within its jurisdiction. During a meeting Wednesday, the city commission voted unanimously in favor of the ban, proposed by Commissioner Michael Grieco.

‘All I know is that it’s really obnoxious and intrusive to people when you’re riding up and down in a billboard,’ Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez told the owner of the company in question, Ballyhoo Media. ‘You come to the beach because it’s a kind of tropical paradise. The last thing you need is a boat with a billboard right in your face.’

The vote came despite the arguments of Ballyhoo Media owner Adam Shapiro, who he loves the beach and believes his company will help instead of hurt it by offering a cheaper, quicker way to reach customers and make announcements…'”

— Brittany Shammas, Miami New Times. 

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