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Advertising May Be Coming To Parking Meter Boxes

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Parking Meter Pay Box

A Chicago parking meter pay box. (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Many Chicagoans are no fans of the private parking meter boxes on city streets, but they could generate a lot of money for the city in a different way.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Conway reports, 4,700 pay-and-display parking boxes are set up around the city. They were mounted following the 75-year, $1.15 billion lease of the city’s parking meters to a private company operated by Morgan Stanley, arranged by retired Mayor Richard M. Daley in late 2008.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Conway reports

Now, the Chicago Sun-Times reports the city has noted that Chicago Transit Authority buses and trains have carried ads for several years, so it would make sense to try the same thing with parking boxes.

The effort, termed “municipal marketing,” is part of the city’s 2012 budget plan and could raise some $25 million, according to the Sun-Times.

Besides the parking boxes, ads could also pop up on the Big Belly solar trash compactors, and the boxes that operate street lights, the newspaper reported.

Back in 2005, Mayor Daley hired a consulting firm to prepare a plan for municipal marketing – including selling naming rights for the Chicago Skyway – but the plan never went ahead, the Sun-Times reported.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel told the newspaper he is not worried about turning the city into a big billboard, but rather says advertising might actually beautify some parts of the city where the infrastructure is crumbling.

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