A sign planned for a strategically visible location along Troy Hill Road to welcome visitors to the neighborhood was finished in 2011, and will be celebrating its first birthday in a basement, where it’s been since its completion.
Troy Hill Citizens Inc., the Northside Leadership Conference and State Senator Jim Ferlo’s office are working to place the colorful, mosaic sign that reads, “Welcome to Troy Hill,” across the street from Penn Brewery, but site complications have delayed the process by more than a year.
“It’s sitting there ready to go,” explained April Weber, community development coordinator at Troy Hill Citizens Inc. “We just can’t put it up.”
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation owns the property on Troy Hill Road, and leased as an auxiliary parking lot to Penn Brewery. A smaller, wooden “Welcome to Troy Hill” sign is currently in the lot, but will be replaced by the new, larger sign.
Though Penn Brewery, Troy Hill Citizens and the NSLC, have all agreed that the green space beyond Penn Brewery’s parking lot would be an ideally visible spot for the sign, safety issues with the handicapped entrance have complicated its installation.
Cars access the parking lot using sidewalk handicapped ramps that the sign location would block.
With the ramp the way it is, Troy Hill Citizens worry could lead to a car smashing its new sign, and Penn Brewery worries that it will limit parking lot access.
The sign was funded by a $25,000 grant from the Heinz Company and distributed through the Northside Leadership Conference.
Four thousand dollars was allocated to the installation of the sign, but would not cover the ramp improvements and the installation.
Troy Hill Citizens commissioned the project to local artist James Simon, who has also done signs for Braddock and Uptown as well as the Fallen Heroes Memorial on Liberty Avenue and several other notable pieces of public art around the city.
Mark Fatla, NSLC executive director, and Ferlo walked through the space in September to address the problem with Troy Hill Citizens and the Community Alliance of Spring Garden and East Deutschtown, who shares the border with Troy Hill.
All parties agreed that a new ramp would be the best solution, and Ferlo’s office hopes to work with PennDOT or an additional party to help fund the ramp improvements, which would cost several thousand dollars.
“PennDOT has been working cooperatively with the Troy Hill Community Group and other local groups to determine a suitable location for their sign. We have safety concerns with their proposed location, which is also used a leased parking area for Penn Brewery.
This is an ongoing issue and additional discussion will be necessary before any decisions can be made,” said James Struzzi, press officer at PennDOT.
Troy Hill residents have expressed impatience and the growing desire to see their sign displayed on Troy Hill Road.
“It really is a beautiful sign,” said former Troy Hill Citizens member Nicole Moga, who workedat Troy Hill Citizens and worked to fund the sign and choose the artist. “It should be a positive thing.”
“The sign will be installed, but the question is who is going to pay for it,” said Fatla.
The sign’s location is within Troy Hill’s neighborhood border.