Groups to assess feasibility of repairing Mt. Washington sign
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A sometimes heated meeting about a Pittsburgh landmark sign Thursday led to a possible resolution, city Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith said.
Ms. Kail-Smith called the meeting of city officials, neighborhood leaders, and representatives of Bayer Corp. and Lamar Advertising to determine the future of the deteriorating sign, which hangs on Mount Washington and is visible from Downtown and the North Side.
Debate has centered on whether the sign can or should be renovated with brighter, energy-efficient LED lighting. A city council overhaul of billboard regulations last year complicated modernization efforts, Lamar attorney Jonathan Kamin has said.
Bayer, which has its name on the sign, has said it would like a technology upgrade. At the same time, neighborhood activists fear a brighter, busier sign.
After what she called a long and heated private meeting, Ms. Kail-Smith said the parties agreed Thursday to explore a possible compromise -- a potential renovation using LED lighting and traditional neon tubing. She said the goal would be to maintain the current look of the sign and limit additional features, so that it doesn't flash "a million different advertisements."
After the parties determine the feasibility of combining the LED and traditional lighting technology, she said, they'll meet again in three weeks.
Mr. Kamin called the meeting a "productive first step" and said the parties agreed to explore "some alternative technologies as a way to continue the dialogue."
Bayer spokeswoman Katie Kirkpatrick called the meeting "very productive" and confirmed that combining LED and traditional technology was a topic of discussion. She said Bayer was pleased to have a voice in the discussion.
Representatives of Lamar couldn't immediately be reached.
First Published June 22, 2012 12:00 am