GALLIPOLIS — It’s an idea come to life that has been years in the making.
During a special ceremony planned Friday, the new “Gallipolis” riverfront sign will officially be dedicated.
Although the sign has been in place for several months now at the Public Use Area in the City of Gallipolis, organizers have been waiting for warmer weather to hold a dedication ceremony for the sign. Following Friday’s annual Arbor Day tree planting in the Gallipolis City Park, officials plan to do just that.
Karen Smith, of the Gallipolis in Bloom Committee — the person responsible for spearheading the design and construction of the sign — reported this week that the idea for a riverfront sign was conceived during the first year the city participated in the “America in Bloom” project in 2006.
“The first year that we participated in the ‘America in Bloom’ project, the judges commented during a boat ride that there was no way to know where they were and that there was a lovely town up from the riverfront landing,” she said. “They strongly suggested that we have a sign.”
Smith reported that, because of funding constraints, the Gallipolis in Bloom committee made due with what they had for the next several years, placing individual flower pots on the hillside next to the river at the Public Use Area that spelled “Gallipolis” until more funding became available just last year.
“When Tom Tope contacted me about the Retail Merchants Security Committee’s offer to fund a grander project, we were thrilled,” Smith said. “I got in touch with Brad Painter, and he came up with several designs and really made all the contacts with the people who helped with the construction.”
After speaking with the Gallipolis City Commission last September, the project quickly moved forward with help of Painter, both Tom Tope and David Tawney of the Retain Merchant’s Security, as well as Kevin Lyles, who helped with the sculpting of the sign; Frank Tirpak, who worked on the stone of the sign; and Chris Davison, who performed the excavation work.
Smith, in acknowledging the work of the individuals who helped develop and construct the sign, further encouraged the public to attend Friday’s dedication ceremony to “show appreciation to those who made it possible.”
The dedication ceremony will be 11:30 a.m. at the Gallipolis riverfront sign located at the Public Use Area adjacent to the Gallipolis City Park.
The sign is located below First Avenue near the intersection of First Avenue and Court Street.
Prior to the dedication ceremony, an Arbor Day tree planting ceremony will be held beginning at 10:30 a.m. in Gallipolis City Park on the State Street side of the park near the Gallia County Chamber of Commerce office. This event is being sponsored by the city of Gallipolis, the Gallipolis in Bloom Committee and the Gallia Soil and Water Conservation District.
Smith further encouraged people who may be interested in the Gallipolis in Bloom Committee to attend this year’s annual planting day May 3 in the Gallipolis City Park. A free plant exchange will be held prior to the planting, beginning at 9 a.m.
In addition, on May 1, the grand opening of the Gallipolis in Bloom-sponsored community garden will be held at 4:30 p.m. The garden is located on First Avenue on a vacant lot beside Ohio Valley Bank and adjacent to Washington Elementary.
With these upcoming events and the dedication of the new sign, Smith reported that this year, the Gallipolis in Bloom Committee is excited to again be participating in the “American in Bloom” program, and they hope that more community members will become involved.
“This project will show the judges that we are improving every year,” Smith said. “When people see how nice the sign is, I think that it will make them proud and hopefully encourage them to participate.”
For more information on the Gallipolis in Bloom Committee, including the upcoming Arbor Day and planting day events, contact Gallipolis in Bloom President Beverly Dunkle at 441-6015, or visit Gallipolis in Bloom’s Facebook page.