Chicago City Council Contemplates Digital Billboards on Riverwalk

Chicago Riverwalk Digital Billboards

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Chicago City Council members are currently deliberating over the potential introduction of digital billboards along the popular tourist destination of the Chicago Riverwalk, as city officials seek new avenues to generate essential revenue.

Current regulations prohibit billboards within 100 feet of Chicago’s waterways, prompting a diverse range of opinions among nearby residents regarding the prospect of digital displays along the Riverwalk.

Supporters of the proposal, like resident Steve Olopo, advocate for the innovation, emphasizing a desire to avoid stagnation and embrace progress. In contrast, opponents argue that the bright lights emitted by such billboards could detract from the city’s scenic views and distinctive architectural skyline.

Sixth Ward Alderman William Hall, who leads the subcommittee exploring alternative revenue sources, voiced his endorsement of the initiative. Hall highlighted the historical significance of the Chicago River as a hub for trade and messaging, suggesting a historical precedent for incorporating modern advertising into its urban landscape.

In addition to the Riverwalk, Hall proposed the possibility of installing billboards in vacant downtown storefronts as part of the revenue-raising strategy. He clarified that the intention is not to sell the space outright, unlike previous controversial deals involving Chicago’s parking meters and Skyway.

“We’re not looking to diminish the appeal of the Riverwalk; rather, we aim to enhance it,” Hall emphasized.

A subcommittee meeting scheduled for June 26 will assess the feasibility of expanding advertising in these areas, with any decisions requiring subsequent approval from the full City Council.

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