By Chris Kopacko, Contributing Writer
That's because during its April 23 meeting, the Westborough Board of Selectmen authorized the town to strike a deal with Clear Channel Communications to digitalize five existing billboards in town.
Clear Channel has offered Westborough $50,000 per year to develop the electronic billboards, all of which are located on Route 9.
In addition to the revenue, the town will also secure 25 hours each month on the new billboards” advertising loop to display public service announcements. According to Clear Channel, advertisements are displayed for 10 seconds on a continual loop.
One benefit of the electronic billboards mentioned during the meeting was in regards to emergency situations, such as Amber alerts, which could readily be displayed on all the billboards within minutes.
When Clear Channel first approached Westborough about digital billboards over a year ago, there were concerns about how they would make the town look, as well as if they would potentially cause accidents by distracting drivers. Town Manager Jim Malloy referred to an independent study that showed no indication of digital billboards causing higher accident rates.
Another concern brought forth by Selectman Denny Drewry was that of possibly objectionable ads being displayed on the billboards.
“There are some ads in this day and age that you see on TV that are kind of off-color, at least in my opinion,” Drewry said.
A Clear Channel representative said it had a “strict code of ethics” and would take down any ads the town deemed inappropriate.
The locations of the proposed billboard changes are the double-sided billboard on Route 9 East between Herb Chambers and the car wash, the double-sided billboard on Route 9 West between Burger King and Dunkin” Donuts, and a single-sided billboard on Route 9 East near Bertucci's.