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Harrison Considers Selling Ad Space On Town Property

Electronic signs like this one outside Harrison High School could be used for corporate advertising as a way to generate more money for the town.
Electronic signs like this one outside Harrison High School could be used for corporate advertising as a way to generate more money for the town. Photo Credit: Casey Donahue

HARRISON, N.Y. -- Harrison officials are considering a proposal that would see town property used as advertising space as a way to generate more revenue for the town.

The idea was brought to the town by Richard Yaffa of Ray Media II Consulting Group. Yaffa is a lifelong resident of Harrison who has worked in the sponsorship industry for many years.

"There's been a fundamental change in the ways that towns, municipalities, counties have been looking at how they can generate more revenue through additional resources," Yaffa said.

Yaffa pointed to examples of towns across the country that have begun selling advertising space on school buses, police cars and governmental buildings as a way to bring in more money.

Yaffa said that one essential criteria for advertising would be that it cannot cost the town anything. All advertisements would pre-sold before any signs were placed. All advertisements would also have to be approved by the town, and certain categories of advertising such as political ads or alcohol ads could be off limits. Any advertisements could also not be intrusive to the daily lives of residents.

"Harrison has some unique attributes. It's got strong demographics that most advertisers want to reach, it's got a community with a diverse population," he said.

The first part of the proposal would include electronic signs similar to the one outside Harrison High School. Signs could be posted around town with official sponsors. He said that the signs could have 22 minutes with public service announcement about the town and Harrison events, and then eight minutes worth of advertising. The advertisements could be from local businesses or corporations.

Another option could be naming rights for the "Platinum Mile" business district on Westchester Avenue. The road itself would not be re-named, since it is a county road, but there could be signs placed identifying it as a corporate-sponsored "Platinum Mile." Other future opportunities include selling ad space on the back of the town of Harrison building.

The Town Board will discuss the proposal and come to a decision on it in upcoming meetings. Harrison resident Frank Gordon said that the town has to be careful of selling town space to commercial enterprises.

"There is a value here to the citizens of not being bombarded with commercialized messages, which we face day in and day out, and it's great to go to the Harrison Library or a town building and not be bombarded with further commercial messages," he said.

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