It’s big, it’s bright but is it distracting?
The new electronic billboard along East Stadium Boulevard in Ann Arbor is definitely turning heads. But rather than saying, “Go Blue,” City Council wants it to "go away."
“It’s not the end of the world, but it’s something we’re hoping to work with the university about,” said City Councilman Christopher Taylor.
Ann Arbor officials are planning to ask the university to take the $2.8-million marquee down, even though it just went up.
The city’s biggest issue: distracted drivers.
“We believe digital billboards, like the stadium billboard, is distracting to drivers,” said Taylor. “This one in particular is direct proximity of the Stadium Boulevard, directly in peoples line of sight.”
Jim Kosteva, the university's director of communications, released this statement:
“We believe that the marquee provides value to the U of M Athletics Department. This may simply be a respectful difference of opinions.”
Just this year, City Council passed an ordinance banning all digital and electronic billboards from going up in the city. A few months ago, the 48-foot tall digital billboard went up.
But the university is not required to follow local ordinances because it's under state legislature and the city can’t control that.
“We are requesting because this is conversation between friends with a long standing working relationship, that the university comply with the ordinance or that they only use the billboard directly in connection with game day,” said Taylor.
But for students on campus, the billboards message is bright and clear and they don’t see a negative one.
“It’s Michigan athletics, that’s big and we want to show our brand and sell tickets,” said UM senior Ryan Nyberg.
Ann Arbor City Council will make their formal request for a solution to the billboard at their meeting on Nov. 7. If passed, they will then present it to the university.