PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The latest version of the sign atop Mount Washington is an advertisement for the Sprint mobile phone network with words “Pittsburgh WINS with Black & Yellow.”
The Peduto Administration was not enthused.READ MORE: Pittsburgh Police Investigating Threat Made Toward Pittsburgh Central Catholic
“This isn’t just any normal sign,” says Tim McNulty, the mayor’s spokesperson. “It’s a 30-foot tall, 200-foot long sign that dominates the city skyline, and if you’re going to put some ad up there, you’re going to need the city’s approval for it.”
The city immediately ordered Lamar to take the sign down or face fines of $1,000 a day. But Lamar says they are holding firm, calling the new ad a permitted use of the sign.
“We believe we have every right to be there, every right to use the board, and we do not have any intention to take it down,” said Jon Kamin, Lamar Advertising’s attorney.
The stalemate is just the latest hitch in a two-year battle over the sign, which had become a rusty eyesore.
Lamar had proposed a multimillion dollar transformation into a digital display, but the city balked when it learned the sign would become an advertising vehicle for Giant Eagle.READ MORE: 'You Are Not Alone:' Mother Of Domestic Violence Victim Challenging Men To Speak Up
“What they were trying to do is go to Giant Eagle and tell them that they could advertise for chipped ham, and the board would say what the specials are, with Klondikes and milk. That was never going to happen in the city,” said Mayor Bill Peduto.
Lamar has been in talks with the Peduto administration about donating the sign to the city to use for public purposes. That would be in exchange for other considerations.
But while those talks haven’t born fruit, Lamar says it decided to cover the rusty hulk with the new ad.
“We thought it was in the best interests to go ahead and put a vinyl board up there and use it as a billboard until such point as we can figure out what the board’s future will be,” said Kamin.
Sprint released this statement on the situation Thursday:MORE NEWS: State Senator Pat Stefano Introduces Legislation To Expand Pennsylvania's Castle Doctrine Law
“We hope for a resolution soon between the City of Pittsburgh and Lamar Advertising regarding the Mount Washington billboard. This billboard was an opportunity to let citizens of Pittsburgh know that Sprint is here and we’re here to stay. Our local team is working tirelessly to bring the best customer experience in Pittsburgh, including our new LTE Plus network.”