Citizens Look to Water Tower to Beef Up Tourism
A rusting water tower in one western New York town has become the focus of a whopper of an effort on the part of a group of citizens, who would like to see the tank repainted—to resemble a hamburger.
The tower sits along the New York State Thruway in, yes, the Town of Hamburg. Some residents reportedly call it "the spaceship," but the shape does also closely resemble a certain ubiquitous sandwich. The similarity planted the seed—sesame, of course—in the head of a local resident.
Chris Hannotte Luly, a 15-year resident of the town, is behind the current push to repaint the tower, having established an online petition in favor of the makeover. It's actually not the first time the idea has come up, though; in 1993, there was a similar push, turned down reportedly because of opposition to the idea and the cost to taxpayers.
On the new petition’s website, Luly details her rationale for wanting the water tower to look like a hamburger, emphasizing that it would help put the town on the map with tourists.
*Sing to tune of Spongebob theme* Who lives....under a burger near the 90? HAM-BURG RES-I-DENTS (Maybe) @WKBW https://t.co/9yVt33CAGc— Thuy Lan Nguyen (@ThuyLanWKBW) August 22, 2017
In addition to the town's name and the tank's shape, he paint job proposal also references the history of the town, which lays claim (albeit contested) to being the birthplace of the hamburger in 1885.
“I just want to give something back to ‘the town that friendship built,’” Luly told WKBW. She added that she hoped the new paint job would draw new visitors off of I-90 and Route 75.
At least one member of local government is on board with the idea. Councilman Thomas Best Jr. told The Buffalo News it would give an identity to Hamburg, and that people would be able to see it from the nearby Thruway.
"It would be nice to have this, except if it didn't come from the taxpayer funding. I can't see spending taxpayer money when we have roads not paved for 15 to 20 years."
To address this concern, Luly is pushing to fundraise the $250,000, instead of using public funding.
More than 2,000 people have signed the petition to date, proving the community approves, even some of the naysayers who didn't support the idea when it came up 25 years ago.
"I didn't want some rusty hamburger in my backyard," longtime resident Patty Schinzel told The Buffalo News, referring to the 1993 campaign.
But now her husband, Dan, feels less strongly about his opposition. "How can it look any worse that it does right now?" he asked the newspaper.
Luly plans to present the petition to the town board on Sept. 11, at which point she will learn whether her idea for a rare artistic attraction for her town has a chance of turning into a job well done.