Picture this scrolling hundreds of feet above the iconic confluence of Pittsburgh’s three rivers: “Chipped ham, $1.39 a pound.”
That’s the plot Mayor Bill Peduto says his administration has foiled as it negotiates a new permit with Lamar Advertising for the company’s famous 32-foot-tall, 225-foot-long neon sign on Mount Washington, which has loomed over the Point since around the time of the 1929 stock market crash that triggered the Great Depression.
Bayer, which for years had pushed for upgrades to the dilapidated sign that was covered with a banner during the G-20 summit in 2009 like an embarrassing piece of furniture, finally dropped its nearly 22-year lease of the sign last summer. Lamar pledged to overhaul it. During its lifespan, the sign has also been graced by the sponsorship of Iron City Beer and Alcoa, and displayed the time and the temperature.
Mr. Peduto said Friday that the company is threatening to cease the improvements over his administration’s insistence that the sign not be used for advertising purposes beyond displaying a company name. Mr. Peduto said he was told his stance “killed” a deal with Giant Eagle to become the new sponsor.