A $500,000, double-sided digital billboard is now operational on Interstate 70 near Ohio 41 at the Prime Ohio II industrial park to advertise local tourism events and venues.
The large sign, located right before Exit 59, will be paid for by the Clark County Convention Facilities Authority through the countywide accommodations tax, which collects 3 percent from all hotel, motel, and bed and breakfast stays within the county.
After nearly two years of planning, the sign was turned on Wednesday morning.
The state-of-the-art billboard will serve as a lighthouse to guide people into Springfield, said Mike McDorman, president of the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce.
“It will highlight Springfield’s vibrant community arts and convention facility assets, as well as speak of Springfield’s vibrant brand and tell its treasured story to more than 60,000 vehicles per day,” he said.
The idea started with a static billboard for the Clark County Fair Board more than 20 years ago, said John Maurer, vice chairman of the CFA board. It will be used to promote attractions and venues throughout Clark County to increase tourism. That includes sites like the Westcott House and the Heritage Center of Clark County.
“The goal is to just get the word out there,” Maurer said. “It’s like any business. You have to promote yourself to be successful. Communities have to do the same thing. We have to promote what we have in the community to be successful.”
The billboard rises more than 30 feet off the interstate, has more than 400,000 LED lights and will be lit 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It can display seven to eight messages per minute on the board, and won’t be used to sell private advertising — making it unique to Ohio, said Ross Sferra of Cincinnati-based LSI Industries Inc., which manufactured the billboard.
Since 2009, the CFA board has distributed more than $2.4 million to local tourism-related venues.
The billboard advertising will be maintained by the Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau. Go to GreaterSpringfield.com/cvb/ for more information on how to advertise events.