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Editorial: Bridge house ads beat going bust

Updated: December 17, 2011 8:19AM

Unless perhaps you are Don Draper from “Mad Men,” you can’t be thrilled by City Hall’s decision to slap ads on the historic Chicago River bridge houses.

The first Bank of America banners, which went up Monday on the limestone Wabash Avenue bridge house, are anything but becoming.

But cities that have gone bust don’t hold much charm, either, and Chicago is in desperate need of cash. Ads on a few bridge houses, as part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan to generate $25 million by placing ads on city assets, will not despoil our beloved city.

Chicagoans, Emanuel included, take tremendous pride in the city’s architecture and streetscapes. They are not about to let this ad thing go too far. Emanuel plans to sell ads on a range of city properties, but many of them remarkably unnoteworthy, such as parking pay boxes and garbage cans.

Let’s keep an eye on how many bridge houses and public buildings become billboards, too.

But a slippery slope, this is not.

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