Hope residents choose ‘bandstand’ theme for new town welcome signs

Photo by Mark Webber | The Republic Hope residents chose this design for new town welcome signs in a vote on social media.

HOPE – A recent vote on new welcome signs indicates many Hope residents prefer a design featuring the town’s bandstand, rather than a horse and buggy.

More than 120 people used social media to vote for their choice of two designs for new town limit signs. Both choices have a blue background within an oval shape and carry a long-established motto: ‘Welcome To Hope. A Surprising Little Town. Established 1830.’

One design featured a horse and buggy on top of the letter “H” in Hope. That same letter is transformed into the shape of a bandstand, such as the one on the northeast side of the town square.

Voting on two different Facebook sites began Jan. 22 and concluded at 2 p.m. on Jan. 29. The bandstand design was chosen by a 10-to-one margin, town manager Jason Eckart said.

“Even though I designed the horse and buggy, I still prefer the (bandstand),” Hope artist Rhett Whittington said.

With the voting complete, two town limit signs featuring bandstands have been ordered from Kleem, Inc., of West Chester, Ohio, which is a suburb of Cincinnati.

The Hope Town Council has agreed to pay $2,196 for the two 96-inch by 60-inch signs that will be placed along State Road 9 on the north and south town limits.

In a meeting earlier this winter, town council members agreed the current signs have seen better days. Eckart said the new ones are made of sturdier material with a strong aluminum backing, and are expected to hold up for several years.

While the signs will likely arrive in about three weeks, Eckart said they will likely not be posted along the highway, known as Main Street in Hope, until early April.

The bandstand has long been a symbol for the Hope Town Square and downtown area, Eckart said. That is why a number of people affiliated with Hope’s Yellow Trail Museum tried politely on social media to correct 43 people who described the structure as a gazebo.

The two terms are not interchangeable. A bandstand is generally an open air structure, while a gazebo can be completely enclosed. Bandstands are designed for musical performances and public gatherings, while a gazebo is typically used as a refuge from the elements or for relaxation. Bandstands usually have a number of steps, while the floor of a gazebos is usually one or two steps above the ground.

One creative idea for a new town motto on the signs was suggested by former town council member Tim Shoaf: “Hope. If you’re not in it, you’re beyond it.”