City Council gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a bill that would allow a large and controversial electronic billboard to be erected on the Electric Factory building at Seventh and Callowhill Streets.
The effort to put a "wall wrap" advertisement there has been the subject of legislation and lawsuits for more than a decade. Council passed a bill last year that would have permitted the billboard, but Mayor Nutter vetoed it. The latest iteration includes a community-benefits agreement that gives 20 percent of the billboard's revenue to three nearby elementary schools and one civic association. Four other civic associations declined to participate.
Opponent Rosanne Loesch, with the Society Hill Civic Association, called the promise of money for the schools a "bribe" - drawing sharp rebuttals from Council members. "We're not selling ourselves out," said Councilman Mark Squilla, the bill's sponsor. "We're trying to weigh what the detriments are of this sign going up vs. the benefits." The bill now goes before full Council for a vote. - Troy Graham