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Mouth-watering design chosen for Hamburg Water Tower

To some folks who live, work or run businesses in the Town of Hamburg, this is a whopper of a story.

Others might find the whole thing kind of cheesy.

The Hamburg Water Tower committee announced Saturday that graphic designer Dylan Cownie has won a competition to design artwork for the town’s water tower — a rusty, old structure that will someday wear the look of a large and tasty hamburger.

When Cownie was working on ideas, he mostly thought about two things — what people would like to see and what they like to eat.

“I thought, ‘How do we take something dull and ordinary and make it interesting for people to see?'" Cownie said after hearing the good news. “People like lots of colors, so let’s make it colorful. I also wanted to make it look like something people would like to eat, so my design is a burger with lettuce, tomato, red onion, onion ring, bacon, pickles, ketchup and mustard, all on a sesame seed bun.”

Dylan Cownie with his winning design for turning the Hamburg Water Tower into a giant hamburger. (Dan Herbeck/Buffalo News)

A vote was taken among Hamburg residents. Thousands of people participated, and the Town of Tonawanda resident's proposal was selected over three others, said Chris Hannotte Luly, chairwoman of the water tower organization.

“We’re excited,” Luly said. She said she hopes the water tower will someday be an “iconic” exhibit of public art that people will drive many miles to see.

Her announcement was made during “Shop Local” activities at the Staub Square shopping center in the Village of Hamburg.

Organizers believe it will take at least two years before the tower — which is located off Howard Road and seen by thousands of State Thruway travelers every day — gets painted.

The estimated cost of the project is $750,000 to $1 million.

“We need people to know, this is not going to be done with taxpayer dollars,” said Amanda Lee-Mamon, social media director for the water tower committee.

Organizers hope to fund the project with grants and donations, she said. Town board members gave their blessing to the project last year.

The Buffalo News asked a few shoppers and business people what they thought about the idea.

“There has been a lot of talk about this in the village. Some people say it’s a big waste of money, but I think it’s a cool idea,” said Eric Barlow, owner of Eric’s Cycle Works, a bicycle shop in the village. “It’ll be good for a laugh. There are too many bad things going on in this world. Why not have some fun?”

Town resident Kathie Mann said the project is a “good idea” that will bring attention to Hamburg.

“People are painting murals on walls these days, making things look more colorful and decorative. I like it,” said Kathie Mann.

Her daughter, Andrea, said she wasn’t against the idea, but wasn’t thrilled by it.

The two Manns were interviewed as they waited for a table at one of their favorite restaurants in the village — the Juicy Burger Bar.

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