Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

McDonald's Runs into Keystone Billboard Flap

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

McDonald's Runs into Keystone Billboard Flap

Article excerpt

KEYSTONE HEIGHTS -- The Golden Arches are coming to Keystone

Heights. No, the town is not getting another McDonald's

restaurant, it is getting a McDonald's billboard.

Whiteco Outdoor Advertising of Ocala has received a county

permit to construct the billboard on Florida 21, just north of

the city limits. McDonald's officials say it will be used to

entice travelers to stop at the McDonald's restaurant in

Keystone Heights on Florida 100.

Not everyone is pleased about the addition of a billboard in

the community, however. Darby Bloodgood, a real estate broker,

has spent $180 waging a campaign against the billboard.

"Sometimes you have to put your money where your mouth is,"

Bloodgood said.

Bloodgood spent the $180 for engineering studies to apply for

two county billboard permits, one on Florida 100 and the other

on Florida 21. She got the permit for Florida 100 but Whiteco

beat her to the punch on the other one.

"They beat me by about five minutes," Bloodgood said.

Bloodgood said she applied for the permits to block billboards

in that area and has formed a group opposed to billboards and

"visual blight" in the community.

The group, Bloodgood said, intends to "discourage those who

advertise on the billboard." She stopped short of saying the

group intends to boycott McDonald's.

Sharon Thompson, director of marketing for Eddy Corp., which

owns 67 McDonald's restaurants, including the one in Keystone

Heights, said she is amazed by the protest over the billboard.

"I've been working for Eddy Corp. for 22 years . . . and this

is the first billboard complaint. We have billboards from Palm

Beach clear up to Georgia and never received a complaint,"

Thompson said.

Contractor Mike Redfearn, who leased the property for the

billboard, said he, too, was surprised about the complaints, but

he said it has not deterred him. …

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