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Three “Welcome to Potsdam” finalists chosen

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POTSDAM - The Potsdam Chamber of Commerce wants the community to sound off on a new greeting for the village as it decides which of three community-designed “Welcome to Potsdam” signs will replace the aging versions that now stand alongside village roads.

The chamber asked for Potsdam residents to design concepts for the new signs, using less than four colors and including the words “Welcome to Potsdam.” It received about a dozen submissions, which the chamber whittled down to a final three.

“We want to put something up that everyone is going to be comfortable with and proud of,” Chamber Director Marylee E. Ballou said.

The chamber is now soliciting comments from the public. It will make a final decision in mid-August, and plans to build at least two of the five signs by the end of the year.

The existing signs, placed at the five main roads leading into the village, have stood for six years. They are starting to show heavy wear, and have been criticized by some for not conveying the spirit or personality of the community, according to Ms. Ballou. They were designed by a company hired by the chamber.

“The old signs weren’t necessarily loved by all,” Ms. Ballou said.

The chamber will not release the name of the Potsdam residents who designed the three finalists until the competition is over.

The winning designer will receive $100 in Chamber gift certificates.

Each of the five signs will cost just under $5,000. They will be built with brick or stone bases, rather than the simple wooden posts now used, in hopes that they will last longer than their predecessors.

Clarkson University, SUNY Potsdam, the town and the village of Potsdam have contributed most of the needed money.

The chamber is also trying to decide on a slogan to display on the winning sign. Options include “Where culture and recreation thrive,” or “Home of the Raquette River,” among four others.

The prospective designs can be viewed at the Chamber offices at 24 Market St.

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