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City holds groundbreaking ceremony for digital billboard

Travelers along I-65 will soon have a new landmark to gaze upon—one unlike any other within a 70-mile radius.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Monday behind the Greenville YMCA’s swimming pool area to commemorate the construction of a new 14×48-foot LED digital billboard, courtesy of Smart Safe Systems.

Digital billboards use computer-controlled electronic displays that can rotate among numerous advertisements in a slideshow-like fashion, and can also stream video data alongside static images.

Darren Maull, representative of Smart Safe Systems, said that the billboard is about much more than just advertising, however.

“The difference between just a regular billboard and our board is that we do the ads for different businesses, but we also do safety,” Maull said.

“If something happens that requires an AMBER Alert or anything, we can come alive for any type of emergency with the city.  So we’re working hand in hand with the City of Greenville to keep the city safe, as well.

Eddie Anderson, building official for the City of Greenville, added that the project has been in discussion for at least a year now.

“Darren contacted us about a possible site,” Anderson said.

“He said that a lot of times, municipalities would let them come onto their land and put up their signs, and it also gives the city an outlet to do advertising.”

Maull said that the billboard could cost an estimated $300,000 to $400,000, though the city will incur no cost. 

According to Anderson, Smart Safe Systems will generate revenue via advertising from a variety of businesses looking to capitalize on the prime real estate of I-65, such as Zaxby’s or McDonald’s.  He said that those advertising opportunities would naturally be extended to Butler County businesses.

“Darren said they could do things such as placing the Greenville High School football schedule on it, or advertising for the upcoming Putting on the Ritz,” Anderson said.

“I can’t remember the number, but it just holds so many messages—it’s unreal.”

Though the majority of eyes that land on the new digital billboard will likely belong to out-of-towners, Anderson said that he sees the new billboard as a benefit to locals, as well.

“I think it’s an especially great opportunity for downtown merchants,” Anderson said.  “They could have that LED image that they can use for their store out there on the interstate and try to get interstate traffic.  So I think it’s going to be a great opportunity, even for local people.”

Maull said that details weren’t yet finalized on a time frame for the project to be completed, though plans are currently in place to get started within the next three months.