Coming soon? Talk is back of ads on city's beaches

City News Service

A sponsor for public service advertising at city of San Diego beaches could be identified later this year and approved by the City Council in time for next year's spring break, the city's director of corporate partnerships said Wednesday.

Natasha Collura told members of the City Council's Budget Committee that private firms would pay for messages that have "a positive impact on the beach community.''

City officials are looking to strengthen ties with companies in order to generate additional revenue from sponsorships, and the area receiving the most public attention is beach advertising.

Collura warned the committee members that the sponsorship market remains soft as companies look for the best deal possible.

Opportunities she mentioned including putting signs on beach trash cans that discourage littering, or encourage recycling, with a sponsor's logo. A time and water temperature board could be displayed at the beach with a sponsor's name attached, she said.

The messages would have to be relevant to the public, according to Collura.

Previous attempts at beach advertising failed to gain public support, but Councilman Kevin Faulconer said talks with community members led him to believe opinions could change if they see benefits from the advertising, such as increased funding for lifeguards.

Residents don't want sponsorship revenues to "disappear into the black hole of the general fund,'' said Faulconer, who represents Ocean, Mission and Pacific beaches and part of south La Jolla.

Mary Lewis, the city's chief financial officer, said there are no current plans to "earmark'' advertising income.

Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, who represents most of La Jolla, told Lewis that her constituents also want beach advertising revenue to pay for beach-related items.

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