By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
MARGATE – Lucy the Elephant is putting out the welcome mat in eight locations around the city that will “enhance the beauty of Margate.”
Margate Recreation Director Andrew Miles Nov. 2 presented the Board of Commissioners with several large welcome signs that will be installed at strategic locations around the city.
In all, eight signs will be installed this week and next at the entrances at either end of the city on Ventnor and Atlantic avenues, at the foot of the Margate bridge, at the Lucy playground on Jerome Avenue, the surf boat at the Sigmund Rimm Recreational Complex, and near Marven Gardens and Shalom House.
Miles said when Lucy the Elephant Executive Director Richard Helfant saw the designs, he requested one for Josephine Harron Park where Lucy keeps watch over the beach.
Miles said after Commissioner Maury Blumberg requested new welcome signs about a year ago, the Recreation Department set out to find someone to design the signs. Of course, the team selected Egg Harbor Township artist Jon Baker whose iconic style and portraits of Lucy the Elephant are well-loved in the region. He created two designs, Miles said.
“We really liked his ideas and his vision for the signs,” Miles said. “After receiving the signs, we decided to get a few more.”
According to Recreation Leader Joseph Marchiani, who led the project, the signs are made of a composite material that will hold up against the weather for years to come. The signs were manufactured by Eastern Sign Co. of Egg Harbor Township at a cost of $18,000. Baker’s commission for the art installation was $5,000.
Blumberg thanked the recreation team for implementing a project that had been discussed for some time.
“To see it come to fruition is a great thing for the city,” Blumberg said. “When people come to the city and see these signs, they’re going to say ‘wow.’”
Blumberg said the project was more than just artwork for Baker.
“For him it was personal,” Blumberg said.
Baker, who was a Margate lifeguard for 10 years and has worked at Steve & Cookies By The Bay for the last 20 years, took to the microphone to thank the city for the commission.
“I just wanted to say thank you so much,” Baker said. “I just wanted to go on record saying that I love Margate.”
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