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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- This city has leveraged business requests to refurbish billboards on prime property to force the companies to take down more than 25 other signs on city streets where people didn't want them.
In the past 18 months, Reagan Outdoor Advertising approached Provo about upgrading its old wooden sign on I-15 near Provo's northern border, and Simmons Outdoor Media needed to renew leases for two billboards near the city's southern East Bay area.
Provo is one of Utah's cities with an outright ban of future billboards in unincorporated areas. But the companies were willing to make concessions, which Reagan officials said was rare in Utah.
"I wouldn't want it to be the norm, but everybody benefited from it," said Reagan general manager Dewey Reagan. "The city was able to remove some signs in areas it didn't want them and to clean up a dilapidated sign on I-15."
Reagan agreed to take down seven signs on city streets in exchange for the right to replace the aging wooden billboard on I-15 with a larger, modern board.
Simmons agreed to take down 20 signs on city streets in exchange for new 10-year leases on two major freeway billboards south of the East Bay Golf Course, said Dixon Holmes, assistant director of Provo's Office of Economic Development.
"They were difficult deals," Mayor Lewis Billings said. "I don't think people at sign companies are used to having cities call and say, 'We don't have any money, but we want you to take down some signs.' Or to have a city say, 'Before you upgrade your sign, do this."'
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)