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Huber Heights considering digital billboard next to $18M music center

Huber Heights officials are in the planning stages of designing a digital billboard along Interstate 70 on the site of the city’s $18 million music center — a project that could cost between $500,000 and $750,000.

The 65-foot-high digital gateway feature would be built just to the west of the music center and be paid for with tax increment financing money, assistant city manager Scott Falkowski said.

Huber Heights is in discussions to partner with Key-Ads, which would manage and help build the city-owned sign in exchange for the ability to build its own sign on Brandt Pike just south of the Chambersburg Road intersection.

That sign would be about half the size of the I-70 sign and be built on a former Rally’s site, which is now vacant and owned by the city.

“We’re trying to find new ways to get our message out to the public, and this is another one of those tools,” Falkowski said. “It will help to further put us on the map.”

The I-70 digital sign — similar to ones in Dayton, Moraine and Beavercreek — would only be used to announce community and on-site advertisements, and not provide a revenue stream. Falkowski said that is due to state regulations, which prohibits a city from having an advertising device along a highway if it was not incorporated by 1959. Huber Heights was incorporated in 1981.

On-site advertisements would be for the music center, GoodSports’ fieldhouse/hotel and the outlot. GoodSports also could negotiate with the city for space on the sign.

Nick Keyes Jr., vice president of Key-Ads, made a presentation to the city’s administration committee this past week. More discussions will take place at the April 8 administration committee meeting, and City Council could vote on a partnership agreement in April, Falkowski said.

If council approves the plan, construction would begin within the next month and take about two months to complete, he said. The average daily traffic count near the I-70 and Ohio 201 interchange is 70,000 in each direction, Falkowski said.

Councilwoman Jan Vargo was concerned that the proposed sign was too bland.

“There’s not much character,” she said.

But Keyes Jr. said the sign will be built to blend in with the music center and the overall Heights concept.

“It will be a marketing piece on I-70,” Keyes Jr. said. “You have so much to say, you should utilize it. There’s a lot of community engagement you can do with digital.”

Huber Heights resident Brandon Hawley commended the city for taking steps to make the music center successful and promote economic development.

“A city that invests in making itself attractive to new businesses and residents will have a better shot at growing,” Hawley said. “The suburbs to the south of Dayton have a lot going for them, and we must do things to differentiate ourselves. I have no problem with a city finding creative ways to provide a better quality of life for its citizens.”

The GoodSports Village will be built along the south side of Executive Boulevard, west of Meijer near the I-70 and Ohio 201 interchange. The music center will be at the west end of the property, with the fieldhouse/hotel between it and Meijer.

Construction of the 4,500-seat covered music center is expected to be completed by late summer this year.

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