Mayor fundraising for a $250K Hamilton gateway sign

Mayor Fred Eisenberger hopes to raise $250,000 in private donations for the sign, which is his personal Canada 150 project.

He's pursuing the sign as his Canada 150 project

Mayor Fred Eisenberger hopes to raise up to $250,000 in private donations for a Hamilton gateway sign as part of his own Canada 150 project.

The mayor says the "portable" sign will be positioned at events, or at city hall, or at one of Hamilton's gateway roads to welcome people to the city during 2017, Canada's 150th birthday and in following years.

He announced the plan during a Facebook Live virtual town hall with CBC Hamilton Wednesday evening.

"I'm going to appeal to private sector players out there to raise the money for a sign we can all be proud of," Eisenberger said.

The mayor envisions the sign as "six foot tall letters that span 30 or 40 feet." The sign "might stand outside city hall from time to time, light up at various locations" or the city can "move it through the gateways in our community."

The public voted on this sign rendering in 2008. The mayor has a different image - one that is portable and illuminated. (City of Hamilton)

The notion of a gateway sign isn't a new one. City council heavily debated spending about $230,000 in 2014 — prior to Eisenberger's election — but some balked at the cost. In 2008, there was even a public vote to choose a design.

Laura Babcock, a local communications strategist, pitched the idea in 2014. She's happy the mayor is taking it on as a project.

A sign says "Here's where you're entering, here's what we offer, and for a city not to have that, it's missing something," Babcock said. "Given that we're one of the iconic cities in this country, it doesn't make sense."

samantha.craggs@cbc.ca | @SamCraggsCBC