Hamilton Beach is looking for a new design to replace the community’s welcome sign and has called on local artists and residents to submit their best sketches for a contest.
“The civic is looking for local students, community members and artists to submit designs for the new ‘Welcome to Hamilton Beach’ sign,” said Roger Gendron, president of the Hamilton Beach Civic Association. “We thought this would be good community engagement to have a contest so people can submit their ideas.”
A new sign is being sought by the civic association after the last one had to be removed in December due to a car crash at the site. Gendron said he was looking for a simple design that he and the members of the civic association could vote on at the next monthly meeting, which will take place on March 26. He will then take the design with the most votes and bring it to a sign maker to see if it is feasible.
The old sign was designed by a Hamilton Beach resident and greeted residents and visitors as they entered the neighborhood from a bridge that connects it to Old Howard Beach over Hawtree Creek.
But the accident that occurred in December destroyed the guardrail and smashed it almost 2 feet back. The welcome sign was sitting right behind the rail but due to the impact was knocked out of the ground and cracked in the middle with letters and decorations missing.
The sign was removed to see if there was a possibility to have it repaired, but Gendron was told it was beyond salvation.
He put the word out on the civic association’s Facebook page on March 12 that he was looking for people to design a new sign and is still looking for more submissions but has gotten some good news since. He has found a local sign maker in Rockaway, who also designed the new “Welcome to Howard Beach” sign, and was even contacted by the American Legion in Broad Channel who said they would help to pay for the sign.
The civic also applied for a community grant that could give them $3,000 to use toward beautification projects. Gendron said that if he has help to pay for the sign he can use the grant to build a small garden area around the new sign which he feels will be even more welcoming to the community.
“We need a new sign for the community,” he said. “We want this sign to be different and unique from others.”