Middletown to participate in I-75 electronic billboard project

The city of Middletown could soon see its name in lights at a key location.

Well, sort of.

The city will be working with Premier Health Partners, the parent company of Atrium Medical Center, to upgrade an old highway billboard into one with an electronic format near the Interstate 75/Ohio 122 interchange. The deal would allow the city to advertise events and businesses on the new refurbished billboard.

Middletown City Council Tuesday approved the emergency ordinance for a development agreement with Commerce Center LLC, the current property owner, and Premier Health to proceed with the project. The emergency ordinance was approved 4-0, with Councilwoman Anita Scott Jones abstaining as she is employed by the health care provider.

The emergency ordinance also allows the city to spend up to $75,000 for its portion of the project.

In a staff report to council, City Manager Doug Adkins said that Premier Health was in the process of purchasing the old Score Automotive property and intends to demolish all existing buildings on the site to prepare for future redevelopment.

As a part of the redevelopment, Premier Health proposed to the city that the existing billboard on the site, which is in poor condition and currently advertises Cronin Motors, be refurbished to high definition electronic format for use by the hospital, Adkins said.

“After discussion, it was agreed that Premier Health would pay for the refurbishing of the sign (approximately $400K), that Premier would only use the sign for hospital and other Atrium health care advertising, and that the city would be entitled to use 5 percent of the billboard timing (about one hour per day) to place municipal advertising on the refurbished electronic billboard.” Adkins wrote. “The city advertising could be general advertising to visit the mall or downtown or the city in general, but would also be used to advertise upcoming events in Middletown that would be a regional draw such as Balloonfest or the Color Run, etc.”

In his report, Adkins said the city is exploring wrapping the billboard pole in stonework similar to the interchange entryway to complete the upgrade of the sign.

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