City Council OKs putting 14 billboards on 1st Mariner Arena

April 08, 2003|By Doug Donovan | Doug Donovan,SUN STAFF

The Baltimore City Council overwhelmingly approved an ordinance yesterday that allows for the installation of 14 four-story advertisements on 1st Mariner Arena.

The council's 18-1 vote clears the way for Baltimore Blast soccer team owner Edwin F. Hale Sr. to sell space on the city-owned arena to help offset the team's financial losses.

"The advertisements will enhance the condition of the arena," said City Council President Sheila Dixon. "It also allows us to take down billboards throughout the city."

The ordinance, which amends the 2-year-old billboard ban, benefits the city, Dixon said, because it will allow removal of 14 specific billboards that existed in city neighborhoods before the moratorium went into effect.

Ronald M. Kreitner, executive director of West Side Renaissance Inc., has opposed the plan, but no one appeared before the council to protest. Kreitner has said the advertisements would discourage tenants from moving into the $80 million Bank of America Centerpoint housing and retail project under construction a few hundred feet away.

Only Councilman John L. Cain voted against the measure.

Last week, Kreitner said he was waiting to see what Mayor Martin O'Malley would do. Kreitner is a political supporter of O'Malley, who must sign the bill before it becomes law.

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