By BOB SHRALUKA
A recent acquisition in the world of outdoor advertising brought some debate to a recent meeting of Decatur’s Board of Works and Safety.
Lamar Advertising Co. of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, acquired Burkhart Advertising of Indiana.
The City of Decatur has four years remaining on a five-year lease agreement with Burkhart for Burkhart’s use of the city-owned billboard at the corner of US 224 and Jackson St., across from the main entrance to the North Adams Schools campus.
Burkhart has been paying the city $1,400 annually for use of the billboard, then Burkhart sells monthly contracts. In recent years, Adams Health Network has leased the billboard for local promoting.
Lamar says it is willing to continue at that price through the length of the contract. However, it wishes to make several other changes in the contract and city officials are hesitant about some of those changes.
It was decided to have City Attorney Anne Razo to contact Lamar and see what can be worked out.
The Lamar purchase includes more than 1,500 billboard structures and 3,200 billboard faces, including 23 digital displays, in 38 counties across northern Indiana, according to the company.
Burkhart says it is the leading out-of-home advertising provider in communities such as South Bend, Fort Wayne, Elkhart, Muncie and Lafayette.
Lamar purchased Burkhart Advertising from members of the Burkhart/Miller family, third-generation descendants of company founders Charles and Elinor Burkhart. The Burkharts established the company in South Bend in 1964.
The purchase price was not disclosed.