A pair of city leaders are calling on one of the nation's top billboard advertising firms to pull what they call an offensive ad from downtown North Tonawanda after residents expressed shock at the ad's adult content.
The billboard - located on a prominent corner of North Tonawanda's Webster Street, part of the city's revitalized family-friendly downtown - touts a Cheektowaga business and features a scantily clad model peddling adult novelties. Lamar Advertising Co., of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, owns the billboard.
"This kind of advertising doesn't belong in North Tonawanda," Alderman-at-Large Jeff Glatz said. "We have worked hard to protect our city's family-friendly atmosphere. We are calling on Lamar to remove this sign immediately."
Niagara County Legislator Rich Andres, who has been involved with various downtown improvement projects for many years, stated, "We're in the midst of Canal Fest and tens of thousands of people are visiting our community, and this is not what North Tonawanda wants as their first impression."
Andres describes how he first became aware of the billboard's presence in just blocks away from city residences.
"As a father of a young family, I was mortified when my children began asking questions about the sign during a recent trip to the Canal Side Creamery," Andres said.
"This area has experienced a renaissance over the past several years, and this sign cheapens the entire downtown" Glatz added.
The billboard also has drawn the ire of the local business community.
Jay Soemann, president of the North Tonawanda Merchants Association, said, "Many of our local business owners have also commented on the billboard, and they are most definitely against having it in North Tonawanda."
Glatz and Andres said they are asking Lamar to remove and replace this advertisement with a more appropriate ad.
"In the future, we ask that they consider the location of the advertisement when placing their ads, keeping in mind the family friendly atmosphere we have here in North Tonawanda," Glatz said.