Hamilton

Should the city put this HAMILTON sign in front of city hall?

A proposal for a new sign in front of City Hall that spells out HAMILTON will go for debate at the city’s public works committee on Thursday.

The multicoloured sign has been designed by a local firm experienced in public art

In an artist's rendering, the proposed sign is seen illuminated in front of Hamilton's city hall. (City of Hamilton)

Should you ever forget which city you're in, a new sign promises to help.

A proposal for a new sign in front of City Hall that spells out HAMILTON will go for debate at the city's public works committee on Thursday.

The report offers a first look at the proposed sign, which will be tall enough to stand in, multicoloured, with each letter in an open form, lit from inside.

The sign would be about 2.25 metres tall, about 2 metres deep and 20 metres long, according to a report to that committee.

The sign has been a pet project of Mayor Fred Eisenberger, who floated the idea earlier this year as a Canada 150 project during an interview with CBC Hamilton.

"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 then.

The mayor identifies a Dundas-based contractor who has already designed the sign, and "will manufacture and install the sign."

The report acknowledges that Toronto already has a similiar signs, a popular fixture for photographs at Nathan Phillips Square.

Other cities with similar signs include Amsterdam, Brisbane, Nice and Los Angeles.

The notion of a gateway sign for the city 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.

In January, the mayor estimated the sign would cost $250,000. Local business leaders PJ Mercanti and Laura Babcock are leading the fundraising effort on the sign, the report states.

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."

The report says the sign would not be subject to city sign by-law or building permits.

But the report stipulates that the sign would have to get a permit from the city's committee that reviews heritage properties and proposals. Hamilton's city hall has been designated as a heritage property. 

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