Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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April 14, 2014

City OK’s electronic billboard

Corsicana — The Corsicana City Council is going to tell the city's story in a big, big way — on a 48 foot wide electronic billboard on Interstate 45.

The council approved the purchase and construction of the new sign Monday, one that will help promote city events and attractions, and hopefully attract visitors — and their dollars — to the city's businesses and events.

The electronic billboard is similar to the sign recently erected by Collin Street Bakery at its Interstate 45 location, but is “two-sided” so both northbound and southbound traffic will see the messages displayed on the 16 foot by 48 foot electronic displays. It will be installed at the southwest corner of Interstate 45 and Highway 31.

The cost of the sign is being paid through hotel/motel tax dollars, and is being split between the city and the Corsicana Convention and Visitor's Bureau. The hotel/motel tax dollars can only be spent on promoting tourism, and Corsicana Mayor Chuck McClanahan said the sign project is a great use of those funds.

“Anytime that we can bring more folks into Corsicana to see all the jewels we have here, the better,” McClanahan said. “They're going to come in and go to events, come in and go to the college, and they're going to buy gas and eat … I think advertising Corsicana at that location will work.”

In addition to the promotion of city events and attractions, the billboard will also be used to relay vital emergency information to travelers on the highway, said City Manager Connie Standridge.

“If we were in a hurricane evacuation or an Amber Alert, those types of messages are also a community service,” she said.

Councilman John McClung proposed the idea of the billboard to Standridge about three years ago. Monday's action will bring that idea to fruition, with a timetable that calls for the project to start displaying messages by June 30 — an aggressive deadline for vendors Corsicana Sign and Crane, who will install and maintain the sign, and Watchfire, the company that manufactures the sign and association software to run it.

McClung said based on traffic counts going past the sign location, even if it only attracts a tiny portion of the estimated 38 million cars that pass the sign location each year, the rewards to the city would be huge.

The city's Main Street office will be responsible for managing the operation of the sign, Standridge said, working with the Corsicana Convention and Visitor's Bureau to coordinate content.

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