8 Investigates

Hopewell residents question price tag for 'unappealing' towering tourist greeter

HOPEWELL, Va. (WRIC) -- Locals in Hopewell are fired up over the towering sculpture on Route 10 called the "Big H," wondering if it was worth spending thousands on such a unique welcome mat. 

At the Route 10 bridge, the iconic, large "H" greets drivers each day. 

"They designed it pretty well," Jordan Blakes, a Hopewell resident, admitted. "They did." 

Standing 65 feet tall, the "Big H" was welcomed by city leaders over the summer to represent the efforts in making Hopewell a destination spot. 

"They invested money into building an H for branding to bring more attractions to Hopewell," Blakes told 8News. 

"To me, it's ugly," said Robert Williams, another Hopewell resident. "It's unappealing, it's not the image that we need to set for Hopewell." 

Williams told 8News the project was a misuse of money. 

"I feel like every citizen in the city of Hopewell needs to be provided with receipts as to where our tax funds went," Williams said. 

City leaders informed 8News that the project cost $1.2 million and the Cameron Foundation and the City of Hopewell split the cost at $600,000 each. 

8News also learned the money spent on the project was already set aside because of capital improvement funds. 

"We need to put the money back into parks, recreation, schools and especially roads in the city of Hopewell," Williams told 8News. Blakes also recommended other suggestions.

"More restaurants, bars, convenience stores," Blakes said, "just more attractions."

More than 60 people have signed an online petition to remove the "H" sculpture.

"We don't need something for someone to throw shoes over top of, work boots on top of," said Williams, "and to vandalize it." 

This project is one of several throughout the Tri-Cities. The Cameron Foundation also provided money for the bridge arches in Petersburg and the glass spires in Prince George County. 


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