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Watertown lawmakers seek state’s blessing for digital billboards

Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 4:54 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Watertown City Council has voiced its support of an ongoing effort to convert downtown billboards to digital.

There are four in total: two on Court Street and a pair on Public Square.

Those roads are considered scenic byways by New York and the state prohibits billboards on them.

However, the four were grandfathered in, but the ban halted plans last year to make them digital.

At Monday’s meeting, Watertown City Council voted three to one encouraging state lawmakers to introduce legislation allowing for the upgrade.

“This is just saying the city is going to allow it if the state allows it. State of New York still has to allow this to happen,” said Mayor Jeff Smith during the meeting.

“And they could very well say no,” added Council Member Lisa Ruggiero.

“And that’s up to them,” Smith replied.

Smith says the city isn’t trying to add new billboards with its resolution.

A spokesperson from state Assemblyman Mark Walczyk’s office says the assemblyman is working with New York’s Department of Transportation to try to allow the Watertown billboards be converted.

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