Daily Gazette By Stephen Williams April 14, 2017
The billboards are in the area where a $1.1 million federally funded project is realigning a 1,900-foot section of Maple Avenue. Work started last year and is expected to resume soon, after being halted for the winter.
The realignment is eliminating a sharp hilltop curve located at the entrance to the Air National Guard Base. County officials said the project will improve road safety by eliminating the curve.
The county initially expected to use eminent domain to get the Pan Am land, but then struck a voluntary deal to buy 6.2 acres, including the billboard location, for $38,600. Lamar said in its initial filings that it was never notified.
Lamar said that the county offered it $25,000 in November 2015 — an offer that it rejected. Lamar instead sought $82,638, and to have the county pay the costs of relocating the billboard in the same general area. The company said the county ignored those requests.
Subsequently, the county reached its agreement with Pan Am and acquired the land. Last Sept. 23, the county notified Lamar that its lease was being terminated without compensation, leading to the lawsuit a few months later.