Hometown Heroes banner program pitched

GLOVERSVILLE — Locals will soon have a chance to honor service members and help beautify downtown through the Hometown Heroes banner program pitched this week by Downtown Development Specialist James Hannahs and approved by the Common Council.

Hannahs outlined details of the proposed Hometown Heroes banner program to the Common Council on Tuesday. The program would see community members purchase banners to be displayed downtown featuring the photo, name, branch, rank, years of service and medals of local service members.

The banners would be hung year-round on the decorative lamp posts downtown on North and South Main Streets and East and West Fulton Streets. Hannahs noted that the 79 lamp posts downtown could bear two banners each, allowing for the display of up to 158 banners.

The banner design developed by Janene Bouck of Silent Jane Photography follows the colors and design of the American flag with the photo of the service member prominently displayed in the center below the individual’s name on a mock brass plate.

“We really wanted to keep it subtle. We didn’t want neon colors, we didn’t want anything that wasn’t going to stand out, also respectfully represents the flag while keeping the hero at the center of the banner,” said Hannahs.

The top of the banner sports the Hometown Heroes moniker, and the bottom of the banner features an area for the name of the banner sponsor.

Each banner would cost $250 in the first year to cover the cost of printing, the brackets to hang the banners and shipping. Each additional year that a banner remains up would cost $160 to cover maintenance costs and reprinting of banners if necessary due to damage from the elements. A portion of each banner purchase would be donated to the Veterans & Community Housing Coalition of New York.

Community members purchasing a banner to honor a service member would own the banner outright and could keep the item as a personal memento if they choose to end participation in the downtown display program at any point after the first year.

The program would also solicit sponsorships from local businesses and private individuals to cover the purchase price of banners for residents interested in honoring a local service member but in need of assistance.

As part of the development process, Hannahs discussed the program with Department of Public Works Director Christopher Perry to ensure the banners would not hinder vehicle or foot traffic downtown and to enquire about the ability of DPW crews to hang the banners.

The bottom of the 18-by 36-inch banners would hang approximately 7 feet off the ground with the top of the banner reaching about 10 feet high. The banners would utilize clamp style brackets that would not require any permanent changes to lampposts. The width of the sidewalk from each lamp posts to the street is approximately 24 inches, meaning that banners hanging street side would not extend beyond the end of the sidewalk.

“So, they’re out of the way but they’re still captivating, they still catch the eye without being intrusive,” said Hannahs.

Perry confirmed that DPW staff could provide banner installation, saying the bracket hanging system to support the banners could be easily managed and would go smoothly after crews have the experience of hanging the first few under their belts. He also noted that the year-round banners would not interfere with the holiday lights that are hung on the lamp poles downtown each winter.

“It’s not a huge lift for DPW and I think it’s is a great program for the city. It’s a way to honor the many veterans we have in our community, so I think it’s win-win for all of us,” Perry added.

Hannahs would serve as program administrator with budgetary oversight from the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth.

The downtown development specialist would handle banner orders and digital registrations funneled through the existing website downtowngloversville.org. Hannahs will partner with The Leader-Herald to provide advertising support, registrations by mail and digital layout and formatting of banners prior to printing.

After providing the program overview, Hannahs requested approval from the Common Council to hang the banners on the lamp posts downtown and for DPW staff to provide the labor to hang the banners.

“I think it’s a really great opportunity for us to present some positivity in the wake of everything that’s been happening,” said Hannahs. “As well as a sign of community reinvestment going back into downtown Gloversville in the form of beautification and some veteran appreciation.”

The council responded positively to the proposal, commending Hannahs for developing the program, and unanimously approved the requests.

“I think it’s a great project, it’s something that doesn’t really cost the city any money, a little time and a little effort, but I think it makes a big impact on the community,” said Mayor Vincent DeSantis.

“I think James deserves a round of applause,” added 3rd Ward Councilwoman Elizabeth “Betsy” Batchelor. “That’s a really extensive presentation James, nicely thought out.”

With the approval from the city, the banner design will now be subject to final approval by the Historic Preservation Review Board before the program can officially move forward.

If that board approves the design at its next meeting on Feb. 18, Hannahs said banner registration and sponsorship opportunities would begin in March, with banner installation to begin in May with a public unveiling on Memorial Day weekend.

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