Should this city’s red fire trucks be transformed into rolling billboards?
After Baltimore officials made the wrenching decision to close three fire companies later this summer, the City Council initially sought to avert the cuts with a new money-raising strategy: it passed a resolution this month urging the administration to explore selling ads on the city’s fire trucks.
It is far from clear whether corporate logos will be painted on Baltimore’s fire engines any time soon. Officials in Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s administration have expressed doubts about whether the proposal would generate enough money to keep even one fire company open.
But in exploring the option, Baltimore is joining dozens of other financially struggling cities, transit systems and school districts around the country that are trying to weather the economic downturn by selling advertisements, naming rights and sponsorships to raise money.
Such marketing schemes have long been used by sports teams and some arts organizations. But now, straphangers in Philadelphia buy fare cards blazoned with ads for McDonald’s and ride the Broad Street Line to AT&T Station (formerly Pattison Station), where the turnstiles bear the company’s familiar blue and white globe.Page 1 of 7 | Next Page