Published: Dec 28, 2010 12:38 AM EST
Updated: Dec 27, 2010 5:23 PM EST

Are they a big waste of tax money?   Or a great way to display and publicize various locations and attractions in the city of Fort Myers?     Business owners and others have varying opinions about the 244 banners, displayed on light poles around the city.    It cost 50-thousand dollars to design, produce and display the banners.

"I am not happy with my tax money being spent this way," said Jack Lurie, owner of Tropical Hardware.   "I do not believe people will even really notice the banners.   Drivers will whiz by them and they will not even register in their minds.   It is not money well-spent."

"I think you have to advertise and let people see the banners time after time," said Skip Mufalli, owner of Toots Dollar Store in downtown Ft. Myers.   "It's like a park bench, people will see the ad and they will get it after a period of time.     Anything to enhance the look of the city for people who are passing by in their cars."

The banners publicize  two-dozen locations and atttractions that are non-profit, such as the Imaginarium, Edison-Ford Winter estates, and various parks in the city.

"It would cost far more than 50-thousand to advertise for each of these 20-plus places, in other media" said Don Paight, dir. of the Redevelopment Agency.     "So far, the reaction has been good.  We hope that visitors will see the banners, and then seek out more information aobut the places, and hopefully, stop by those places.    If they do so, they will perhaps spend money at nearby businesses.    The money comes from business property taxes in the various redevelopment districts around the city."

The banners will stay up year-round, and should last 3 to 4 years before wearing out.