Giant digital billboard planned for Philadelphia building facing I-95

A proposal to put a mammoth digital billboard facing Interstates 95 and 676 to benefit Philadelphia schools is getting a strong reaction in City Council.

About $500,000 a year is projected to be generated for schools and community groups if the digital billboard is allowed on the Callowhill Street building.  Myron Berman owns the building which can be seen from I-95 and 676. He says 20 percent of the sign revenues will go to the community.

“Seventy-five percent of that money will go to the McCall School, the Gurney School and the this is a very positive arrangement that is very strongly supported,” said Berman.

Parents from the schools testified the money would be a lifeline at a time when even paper is in short supply.

But Sarah McEneaney of the Callowhill Neighborhood Association opposes the 10,000 square foot sign.

“It would flash and shine directly into the windows of the condominium building Metroclub at 201 North 8th Street, and tower over the Franklin Square Historic Park that is heavily used by residents and visitors since its refurbishment six years ago,” said McEneaney.

Planning Commission officials say Federal highway funds could also be jeopardized if the sign is approved, since there are restrictions on billboards that can be seen from interstates.

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