By Sherry Koonce
The News staff writer
An effort for Port Arthur’s Economic Development Corporation to advertise on Memorial High School’s scoreboard was dead in the water this week when City Council failed to bring the agenda item to the floor for discussion.
Among the group of council members who sometimes talk so much that time limits have been imposed, it was surprising that no one wanted to discuss the issue, Port Arthur Mayor Deloris “Bobbie” Prince, said.
“The lack of a motion did surprise me. It did not even get on the floor even for discussion,” Prince said. “I believe this was the first time the City Council has had nothing to say since I’ve been mayor.”
The EDC sought to purchase advertising space on the 32-foot high school stadium scoreboard. Advertisement for a year would have cost the EDC $7,500.
The 32-foot scoreboard was installed at the Memorial High School football field in 2008 for a cost of $350,000. It allows fans to watch replays and crowd reaction and contains space for 10 advertisers.
It the resolution had passed, the proposed advertising would have informed Port Arthur residents about the positive economic impact the PAEDC plays in the city.
In a telephone interview Wednesday, District 5 City Councilman John Beard said he was against the EDC advertising, but wanted to see a more comprehensive marketing plan.
Beard said he was concerned the scoreboard advertising would be limited to only those attending the games, and had no way to measure whether it was successful.
“I have a problem with the limited amount of time the advertising is going to been seen, and we have no way to measure the impact of the advertising,” Beard said. “We need to be able to see a return.
Though still in the early stages of negotiations, no one has signed a contract to advertise on the football scoreboard, Mark Porterie, PAISD assistant superintendent, said in a phone interview Wednesday.
The EDC had previously wanted to spend $750,000 on scoreboard advertising for a 10-year period, but was told by City Council in November to negotiate a deal with an out clause.
Tuesday’s advertising plan presented by the EDC did provide for an opt out clause at the end of the year.
Without the city passing a resolution, the EDC scoreboard advertising won’t go forward, Floyd Batiste, EDC director, said.
“It is dead in the water now,” Batiste said.