Colorado Springs looks to cash in on ads on city property

Colorado Springs announced a plan to sell advertising on city property to cash in on $5 million a year. Imagine: Mountain Dew, doing the Dew to the early morning foliage at Garden of the Gods. Qwest, adding adventure to your Sunday morning bike trek through North Cheyenne Canyon. It’s not the first time that the marketing brains tried something like this in Colorado’s second largest city. Back in the mid-1990s, the city’s largest school district became the first in the nation to sell ads, including in schools and on the sides of buses, to raise cash.

According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, discussions are in the early stages, and so don’t expect the big ole Starbucks welcome at Helen Hunts Falls anytime super soon. But California-based Active Network is going to “examine its options” and report back to city leaders this week.

The money would ostensibly go back into the general fund, which has been hurting mightily due to low returns on sales taxes.

In October the city council made $23 million in cuts, including eliminating 90 jobs, as well as thousands of hours from public bus routes, parks and recreation, the Fire Department and from road overlay work. Now, an addition $5 million is on the chopping block. The city’s total budget is $357.5 million.

Back in the 1990s, School District 11 leaders claimed they were being innovative with the concept of selling ads on the side of school buses, and using ads during classroom exercises. But many sociologists, cite the intrusion of corporate branding on educational curricula and the subliminal sales pitch given to millions of American children on a daily basis.

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