Over the past year, Michigan spent $2.8 million to construct a video billboard outside Michigan Stadium. Now, members of the Ann Arbor city council would like the billboard's use restricted.
Ann Arbor officials want the university to decommission the billboard, which is between Michigan Stadium and East Stadium Boulevard, the street that runs just outside it. Why? Because it's distracting to drivers.
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"It is a request to the university — the autonomous university — that they consider decommissioning the billboard," city council member Christopher Taylor said. "Or if they decline to do that, that they only utilize and illuminate the billboard in immediate association of events at Michigan Stadium or Crisler Arena."
The word autonomous is important here. According to the paper, the university does not have to obey city ordinances or council requests.
The board is 21 feet off the ground and is 27 by 48 wide. In a proposal last summer, Michigan AD Dave Brandon said that the school would use it to advertise athletic events, though its audio capabilities would be restricted to game day usage. The video portion of the billboard is promoting Michigan athletics all the time.
"It happens to be across the street from a golf course so it won't annoy anybody," Brandon said when the video board was proposed.
Michigan's community relations director said that he'd withhold comment on the council's request until he had more info.
"While I would indicate that we have received favorable feedback on the marquee from fans and patrons, I am going to withhold any more specific comment until I have had an opportunity to obtain more information about the councilman's intentions and possibly review specific language," Michigan community relations director Tim Kosteva told the paper Monday.
When it was completed this summer, council members were already weary of the sign. In June, the council passed restrictions on the size and scope of digital billboards, which would affect Michigan's billboard. If it had to follow the rules, that is.
"It's very large," Ann Arbor coucil member Margie Teall told the paper in June. "It feels out of scale for the neighborhood it is in. ... It's a huge stadium, so I understand that but I don't know how badly they needed to have it be that big."
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