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5 months after Hamburg hamburger design was chosen: Where's the beef?

Five months have passed since the winning hamburger design was chosen for the Hamburg water tower.

So where's the beef?

"A lot of people have said, 'What's going on?' " said Chris Hannotte Luly, chairwoman of the group that wants to paint the tower to look like a hamburger.

The tower committee has spent the time working on creating a nonprofit corporation, which will allow it to raise money for the estimated $1 million paint job.

"No public funds, no tax dollars will be used. It will be entirely private — and we hope — corporate fundraising," Luly said.

The group expects to obtain nonprofit status within a month.

"Then we expect to start fundraising," Luly said.

She started the campaign at Burgerfest two years ago by circulating petitions in favor of painting the rusty blue water tower on Howard Road to look like a hamburger. A similar effort 26 years ago did not gain the support of the Town Board, but the current board gave its approval for today's group to raise money.

"It is a big price tag, but we think it's an investment that will reveal a great return," Luly said.

The tower is visible to the thousands who drive on the Thruway through the town every day.

"These iconic infrastructure projects, they exist all across the United States," Luly said. "There are people who will travel here to see it."

The design by Dylan Crownie was chosen from among four entries. It depicts a bright burger dripping with ketchup and mustard and all the trimmings on a sesame-seed bun.

Some people voting on the designs pledged thousands of dollars, and they will be asked to honor their pledges, Luly said. In addition, the group will sell T-shirts with Crownie's design at this year's Burgerfest on July 20. The group also plans to start a crowdfunding website.

"It's not just a fun idea; it's an economic development idea," she said.

Because of lead paint on the tower, the tower must be sandblasted to raw steel, with several coats of paint added before the final design is applied, she said.

She remains optimistic a newly painted tower will increase the number of people stopping in the Southtowns.

"We want them to have a reason to come to the Southtowns. We think painting the water tower will really help us stand out," Luly said, adding, "If we paint it, they will come."

Mouth-watering design chosen for Hamburg Water Tower

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