Andrew Dawson, Staff Writer
On Friday, Mar. 5, the historical “Welcome to Oneonta” sign was replaced. The sign was located at I-88 on Lettis Highway, after years of proudly greeting visitor it had seen better days. The sign started to deteriorate and city officials did not want that to be seen as an impression of Oneonta when people drive through the town. The new “Welcome to Oneonta” sign has been placed where the old one was to help display a good impression of Oneonta as people drive past.
Construction began on Mar. 5 at 7 a.m. and lasted until 3:30 p.m. To help ensure the safety of all workers, there was controlled traffic.
The old sign had a historical resemblance to the city of Oneonta, it mirrored the rich history of the town and the community. However, the sign began to worsen as years went by. The blue and white background started to fade and the gold color that outlined the lettering of the sign became rusted. The old “Welcome to Oneonta” sign showed a poor representation of Oneonta and needed to be replaced to better portray how Oneonta has changed over time.
The new sign follows the same principles as the old one but was updated to match how the town has advanced over time. The new sign has an all-white background and has several different colors that outline the letters on the sign. These colors are blue, green, and red. The new sign uses key features from its predecessor because it still says, “Welcome to Oneonta” and “City of the hills” on the bottom of it. They also added “Otsego County” and the “Chamber of Commerce” to help make the sign more detailed.
With the new sign improvement, the question remains, which sign do students prefer? John Martello, sophomore at SUNY Oneonta, said, “I really liked the historical background of the old ‘Welcome to Oneonta sign’ but the new one was necessary. The old sign was falling apart and needed to be replaced. The sign they have added is more visually pleasing and fits better with the town and college setting.”
“I noticed the new sign as I entered Oneonta last week. It’s definitely an improvement from the old,” said sophomore Eric Yadoo.
He went on to say, “When I was a freshman at SUNY Oneonta my parents and I wanted to take a picture by the sign. We thought it would help capture the memory of me going away to college, but the old welcome sign was very displeasing. I’m happy they updated it because first-year students should have the ability to take a nice picture in front of a well-maintained welcome sign.”
Alum of SUNY Oneonta, Michael Guiney, said, “I’m glad they revamped the ‘Welcome to Oneonta’ sign. The sign was already in bad condition back when I went to college there. Hopefully, the sign is more welcoming for students looking to apply to SUNY Oneonta.”
The addition of the new “Welcome to Oneonta” sign is important to the culture of the town. It creates a better impression of Oneonta because the town continues to change and improve. Hopefully, the new welcome sign is built to last a very long time.