GALLIPOLIS — If you have ventured out to the riverfront recently in spite of Arctic temperatures and howling gales, you’ve probably noticed the new “Gallipolis” sign.
Although city commissioners voted in September 2013 to allow planning and early construction of the sign, it’s been a few years in the making. Karen Smith, of the Gallipolis in Bloom Committee, said that the idea was conceived seven years ago when someone mentioned that people passing by on the river couldn’t tell where they were.
“No one could tell that we have a beautiful little town,” Smith said.
After the committee secured some private funds for the project, designs by Brad Painter were brought before commissioners in the fall. Painter had been working on the designs for several months and he and the committee had settled on one that combined both aesthetically-pleasing and economically-sound qualities.
The committee did some research on the best site, and decided on its position — closer to the Court Street end of the city park, on the riverbank. It sits clear of any possible future construction on the riverfront near the boat launch area.
Among other concerns, the committee knew they needed to build something strong enough to withstand time, harsh weather, and high water. With this in mind, the sturdy construction is comprised of a foundation, a 40-foot long stone, and concrete sign about five feet high, with metal lettering.
The rectangular sign is topped by a fleur-de-lis, and flanked by cameo-style life-sized silhouettes of a man and a woman, constructed from steel. The figures are dressed in costume representative of the period in which the French City was founded.
“It’s a project that the Gallipolis in Bloom committee has wanted to do for a while,” Smith noted.
Smith added that a dedication ceremony for the sign is slated for April 2014.