BY ANGELA MATUA
Hamilton Beach will soon greet those who enter the neighborhood in style.
After a hit-and-run destroyed the old sign, which was made by a Hamilton Beach resident, the community started brainstorming designs for a new one.
Hamilton Beach Civic Association President Roger Gendron helped spearhead the project and used Facebook and local civic association meetings to request that residents bring in designs to local meetings.
Gendron said they received 11 or 12 entries and instead of choosing one, decided to pick and choose aspects of several designs to create the final product.
“I’m very happy with the design that we came up with,” Gendron said. “Actually the shape of the design was from one entry, and the color of the design was from another entry, and so it was actually a collaboration of a bunch of the different entries that we had.”
The civic also paid homage to the old sign by adding a ship’s steering wheel and keeping the phrase “A Great Place to Live,” flourishes that were featured on the old sign.
A piece of the old Hamilton Beach park will also be featured on the sign. Gendron saved two bird figurines that were located on top of certain poles in the park. When the park was renovated last October, Gendron saved the figurines and realized they would be a good addition to the new sign.
The figurines will be repainted and refurbished and placed on top of the columns that will hold up the sign.
Gendron posted a rendering to the civic association’s Facebook page and it quickly garnered 100 likes and excited comments from residents praising the design.
ADP USA, a sign business in Rockaway Park, agreed to create the sign and Howard Beach Memorial Services has donated some funds to build it.
The civic applied for a $3,000 community grant to be used for beautification projects but Gendron said they were denied. He said the civic association may host fundraisers to replenish the money they will use to pay for the construction of the sign.
The civic is also trying to work with local businesses to save on costs toward installing the welcome sign.
Gendron hopes the sign can be installed by the end of the month and said the civic is working out whether they will tie it in to a Fourth of July celebration or if they will decide on a separate date.
“It’s one of the first things you see when you come into Hamilton Beach,” Gendron said. “It’s very welcoming and we may make some future add-ons to the sign as we move forward but right now we need to get the sign up.”