$46,000 Sebastian billboards could bring in tourists, money

By Debbie Carson, Online EditorSEBASTIAN — Three billboards will be popping up along Interstate 95 in the coming months promoting Sebastian as a fun, family-friendly water community. But with a price tag pushing $46,000, will the city get a positive return on its investment? That answer will be difficult to calculate, according to City Manager Al Minner, noting that it would be hard to track. The council will instead keep track of the number of hits on the Web site listed on the billboards – www.GoSebastian.com.The council approved setting aside $40,000 for the billboards, using funds from the Community Redevelopment Agency. Minner said the $6,000 extra could be accommodated easily within the CRA budget.”It’s not a huge overage,” he said. The billboards will be placed both north and south of the city – 39 miles north in Brevard County, 1 mile north just before the city, and 4 miles south of Sebastian, near Fellsmere. Members of the council, the city manager, and the Sebastian Chamber of Commerce are optimistic that the billboards will help promote Sebastian as a great place to visit and will help bring in tourism dollars.”I can’t wait to see them up,” said Beth Mitchell, the Chamber’s executive director. She added that Chamber members have expressed support for the billboards.Sal Neglia, a member of the Riverfront Committee, isn’t convinced. He said that there is no way to tell how much the billboards would impact the city.”I don’t care much for it,” Neglia said of the billboards, adding that he believes the CRA dollars could be better spent within the targeted redevelopment area. “I hope it does help the Riverfront area,” he said. “I truthfully hope it works out.”City Council members last week selected the artwork and slogans for the billboards. They include photos of a sunrise, pelicans skimming the water, and a group of kayakers. The slogans include “Unspoiled Paradise,” “Play in Paradise,” and “Join the Crowd.” All of which are reasons Mitchell said she believes people come to the city – fun, family and water. 

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