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June 18. 2013 10:41PM

Large billboards grabbing attention on Route 101 in Epping


A message welcoming people to Epping appears on one of two new large billboards recently installed at the Brickyard Square shopping center. The billboards are meant to attract drivers from Route 101. (JASON SCHREIBER PHOTO)

EPPING — Two large billboard signs erected along busy Route 101 are grabbing the attention of drivers.

"They're hard to miss," said 20-year-old Jazz Prince of Raymond, who watched the billboards being installed last week at the Brickyard Square shopping center.

Drivers aren't used to seeing big billboards on Route 101, but they don't seem to mind the two that have popped up as part of an advertising plan by Waterstone Retail Development, the company that owns the Brickyard Square plaza.

They were installed on Waterstone's property and are the first signs with a true billboard structure to appear on Route 101.

The billboard on one side shows an image of a young girl blowing bubbles and the message, "Welcome to the Town of Epping. Happiness Starts Here…" followed by the Brickyard Square logo. The opposite side of the billboard is still blank as are the two sides of the second billboard located nearby.

The planning board approved the 672-square-foot billboards on the eastbound side of Route 101 last year as part of the shopping center plan, which includes several stores and O'neil Cinemas.

Waterstone needed waivers for the billboards because town regulations only allow a maximum of 40-square-foot signs.

The billboards will be used to advertise the tenants in the 260,000-square-foot plaza and will change every few weeks.

"After the first 90 days advertising will be available to every business, not only those businesses located in Brickyard Square," said Josh Levy of Waterstone Retail Development. "Let's take full advantage of this great opportunity to promote Epping and economic growth and attract more people to town."

At least one planning board member expressed concerns about allowing billboards on Route 101 when the plan was proposed last year.

Joe Foley, now the board's chairman, questioned whether the big signs had a place in a small community like Epping, but others felt they have an economic benefit and would not be obtrusive.

Foley said he hasn't heard any remarks on the billboards since they went up.

"We've gotten no comments either way," he said. "I wasn't in favor of them, but I think they'll be done tastefully. They've done everything tastefully in that development."

Some local shoppers and motorists who travel Route 101 see nothing wrong with them.

"If people see the billboards from 101 then they'll know what's here," said Leslie Weiskopf of Kingston.

Weiskopf saw the billboards for the first time while she was out shopping at the center with her husband, George, Tuesday morning.

"I don't think they're obnoxious by any means," he said.

Eighty-year-old Margaret Tuck agreed.

"It doesn't matter one way or the other. They're not hurting anybody," the Kingston woman said.

jschreiber@newstote.com



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