Newly designed artistic welcome signs are being erected to greet visitors at the north and south roadway entrances to the Village of Port Henry.
Local sign artist Willie Grant created the signs, which were funded by the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism using Essex County occupancy-tax monies.
Village Trustee Ruth McDonough said the idea for the signs came from Mayor Ernest Guerin.
“Ernie thought they would help tourism in the village. And it wouldn’t have happened without (Moriah Supervisor) Tom Scozzafava. He put the idea in motion and talked with the right people to get it done.”
McDonough said the 4-by-5-foot signs are colorful and well done.
“It took the artistic talent of Willie Grant. We will be eternally grateful to Mr. Grant.”
Grant not only designed the signs, which show the legendary Champ creature swimming in Lake Champlain, but he mounted them in place on posts at the village entrances.
He said it took about three weeks to create the signs.
“I used a glass statue of Champ as a model,” he said. “They feature a wooden cutout of Champ floating with the Champlain Bridge in the background.”
The new Champlain Bridge connects Chimney Point, Vt., to Crown Point, just south of Port Henry, and was completed in 2011.
“Willie did a nice job on the signs,” Scozzafava said. “We need permanent locations now, and we have to anchor them.”
The signs are set in temporary locations for the present, but the State Department of Transportation permits will specify exactly where they must be placed in the Route 9N right-of-way when they arrive.
TO WELCOME VISITORS
The village previously had welcome signs that showed a sailboat on Lake Champlain, but they had become worn and were taken down.
“The signs’ main theme is to draw attention to our mascot, Champ,” Guerin said.
“The signs show images of Champ, Bulwagga Bay and the new bridge. We’re hoping they inspire more people to stop in Port Henry as they come through.”
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