Supporters of Arcadia’s Round Barn say a recent development has “severely dashed” any hope toward finding a reasonable solution to the ongoing rift with a metro company.
Barely 24 hours after apparently agreeing to a 30-day moratorium on the billboard near the Round Barn work resumed on the structure.
Wednesday evening, under the cover of darkness, a crew working for Zoom Media Group put two Arcadia-friendly advertisements on the 40-foot-tall steel black billboard skeleton, and prepared space for two other advertisements.
Opponents say the billboard is an eyesore that detracts from the architectural wonder added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1977. Zoom Media has said it was a business decision aimed at streaming business to Arcadia.
Tuesday evening, during a Town Council meeting, Everette Altdoerffer, an attorney speaking on behalf of Zoom Media, presented five options for resolving the stalemate.
Most metro media outlets, including The Edmond Sun, which attended the meeting reported Zoom Media was agreeing to halt work for 30 days. The Arcadia Historical Society also was under that impression.
“Any hope we had to find a reasonable solution has been severely dashed by Mr. (Fariborz) Mazaheri’s action in placing signs on the large billboard under the cover of darkness Wednesday night,” the society said in a statement issued Thursday morning.
“This certainly makes us question their sincerity when they indicated they would suspend all work on the large billboard for 30 days and try and find a solution. Mr. Mazaheri's actions have only strengthened our resolve. We are committed to exhaust every avenue possible to stop the desecration of such an historic icon on Route 66.”
However, Zoom Media released a statement Thursday afternoon saying it never agreed to a 30-day work stoppage during the meeting.
“Any such statement is an inaccurate reflection of what took place at the meeting,” the company stated, citing minutes from the meeting.
Zoom Media also maintains that during an Oct. 18 meeting involving Mazaheri and persons associated with the Round Barn, Mazaheri said the signage for Arcadia was approved by the town, that it was paid for and that it was ready to go up.
Zoom Media stated it will honor an agreement to wait 30 days for the Arcadia Historical Society or any interested group or individuals to exercise any of the proposed options. See The Sun’s report on the Town Council meeting online at www.edmondsun.com for details on the options.
“Zoom Media would prefer to relocate the sign and have presented options that would result in this outcome,” the company stated. “Zoom Media has the legal right to place a sign at this location and is entering into these negotiations in good faith.”
Thursday afternoon, David Box, a metro area attorney representing the Arcadia Historical Society, said there had been no new developments since news about the billboard activity circulated.
Linda Simonton, a trustee of the Arcadia Historical Society and acting secretary, said at about 7 p.m. Wednesday a neighbor called her.
“She said, ‘Linda, they’re out there putting up that sign,’” Simonton said Thursday morning as she stood outside the Round Barn, looking at the billboard.
Afterwards, she called some local residents and members of the media, including The Sun, were notified of the development.
Butch “the Barn man” Breger, who lives next door to the landmark, said he learned about the development Wednesday evening. He too was at the site Thursday morning.
“I wanted to see what it looked like in the daytime,” he said. “It looks worse than anything.”
On Sept. 24, Zoom Media bought the land from Expression Church, and informed the church it planned on building a billboard. Zoom Media began erecting the structure Oct. 12. Protesting Round Barn supporters came to the Round Barn’s defense.
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