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Keeping another county beautiful

Billboards in Pasco urge people to avoid littering in Hillsborough. So what gives?

By JAMAL THALJI
Published March 23, 2005


DADE CITY - In the Scotty's parking lot off U.S. 301 in Pasco County stands a white billboard with an important message:

"Keep Hillsborough County Beautiful."

No, really.

"What does that mean?" asked Jennifer Seney, executive director of the environmental group Pascowildlife Inc., who laughed when a reporter told her about the billboard. "Do we not enter Hillsborough County? Do we pick up the trash when we get there?"

It's not the message that gets to Seney and other Pasco County residents. They applaud Hillsborough's anti-litter campaign.

And a driver headed south on U.S. 301 could easily miss the "Keep Hillsborough County Beautiful" line. It's in small letters dwarfed by the "Think Before You Throw" logo and the phrase "Put Litter In Its Place."

It's the billboard's location that has residents baffled: The sign is about 12 miles from the Pasco-Hillsborough line - in Pasco. But it's no joke. It's no mistake either.

Hillsborough County wanted the sign on U.S. 301 in Pasco County, just as it wanted anti-litter billboards on major thoroughfares in bordering Pinellas, Polk and Manatee counties.

It's part of an anti-litter initiative launched by Hillsborough three years ago using signs, TV and radio ads to drive home the message to county residents.

But then officials thought: What about commuters or those just passing through?

And that's how a "Keep Hillsborough County Beautiful" billboard ended up in Pasco County.