Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Gulfport rejects plan for benches bearing ads

GULFPORT — The fight over whether advertising-laden benches will be placed around the city is over.

The good news is that Gulfport will not be inundated with advertising.

The bad news is there will be no new places for residents and bus riders to rest their weary bones.

The City Council on Tuesday indefinitely tabled an ordinance that would have amended the city's sign ordinance to allow for benches with advertising on them.

The bench fight has been a long and passionate one — and it has been about a lot more than wooden seats.

The Gulfport Lions Club had been in talks about a bench project for a couple of years before the program was officially pitched to the city in September, according to Art Padula, secretary of the local Lions club.

The bench project, run by Metropolitan Advertising Co. in Tampa, allows local nonprofits — in this case the Lions Club — to advertise on a portion of the benches placed in a city. The rest of the benches are sold for paid advertisements, which pay for the benches and their upkeep.

Andrew Moos, committee chairman of the benches program for the Lions of Florida, and state Rep. Rick Kriseman, D-St. Petersburg, on retainer in his capacity as a private practice lawyer, sold the Gulfport Lions on the plan. Then they approached the city.

"We met individually with all the council representatives and they all were in favor of the plan," Kriseman said, "otherwise we wouldn't have gone through with it.

"It provides benches to the city at no cost and maintains them at no cost," Kriseman said. "And, it provides the opportunity for nonprofits to get exposure."

However, before the city could enter into a contract to get the advertising benches, it had to amend its sign ordinance. That vote passed on first reading in November. It was brought up for second reading at a special meeting Tuesday.

While the meeting was only to amend the sign ordinance, a host of residents spoke against the benches.

"I don't believe in commercializing the city's roadways," Margarete Tober said.

"They take away from the beauty of the city," Al Davis said.

"We ask that they not be allowed to visibly litter our city," Nancy Kelly said.

The council voted 3-2, with Michele King and Sam Henderson casting the dissenting votes, to indefinitely table the ordinance.

Padula said the Lions Club no longer wants anything to do with it.

"We were never offered any money at all. We thought we were doing something good for the city," Padula said.

"We're done. It'll never get passed."

Gulfport rejects plan for benches bearing ads 01/16/10 [Last modified: Friday, January 15, 2010 6:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Ratings service Nielsen begins tracking live TV consumption on Hulu, YouTube


    TV ratings service Nielsen will begin tracking how many people watch network TV on YouTube and Hulu to gauge how many viewers broadcast networks have through streaming, the company announced Tuesday.

    Nielsen, a ratings company, is monitoring how many viewers watch live TV on Hulu and YouTube to get a better sense of overall viewership. | [AP]
  2. FWC investigates viral video of shark getting dragged behind speeding boat (w/video)


    The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating a viral video that shows a shark being dragged behind a boat on a rope as men laugh each time its body slams the water.

    The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating a viral video that shows a shark being dragged behind a boat on a rope as men laugh each time its body slams the water. [Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission]
  3. Cheers, whoops for McCain's return, then impassioned speech


    WASHINGTON — In high drama at the Capitol, Sen. John McCain on Tuesday delivered a crucial vote in the Republican drive to dismantle the health care law, a win for President Donald Trump and GOP leaders, and then leveled a broadside at how the GOP got there.

    In this image from video provided by C-SPAN2, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. is embraced by Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer of N.Y. as he arrives of the floor of the Senate on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday. [C-SPAN2 via AP]
  4. For starters: Slumping LoMo, Dickerson not in Rays lineup tonight vs LHP


    1B Logan Morrison and LF Corey Dickerson, two of the main slumpers in the Rays lineup, are not in tonight's lineup with the Orioles throwing LHP Wade Miley.

    Logan Morrison is 0-for-12 on this homestand.
  5. Pence breaks tie as Senate votes to begin debating 'Obamacare' repeal


    WASHINGTON — The Senate narrowly voted Tuesday to begin debate on a bill to repeal major provisions of the health care law, taking a pivotal step forward after the dramatic return of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who cast a crucial vote despite his diagnosis of brain cancer.

    Vice President Mike Pence (R) and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus arrive on Capitol Hill, Tuesday in Washington, D.C. [Getty Images]