The recently torn down sign, which fea­tured the slogan ‘It’s the People.”

Despite crit­icism from cit­izens about the Hillsdale City Council’s decision to replace the ‘It’s the People’ welcome sign on M‑99 with one reading ‘Home of His­toric Hillsdale College,’ the item did not appear on the council’s Monday meeting agenda.

“We did not add the item to the agenda because the body had agreed at the last meeting that once the new signs were installed, the council would look at addi­tional options to include the old logo, ‘It’s the People,’ onto the new signs,” City Manager David Mackie said.

Hillsdale Coun­cilman William Mor­risey did, however, discuss the pos­si­bility of hosting a contest in the city to determine a design for a new ‘It’s the People’ sign that would be attached to the ‘Home of His­toric Hillsdale College’ signs or placed in another location in the city.

Though not an official or final decision, the move by Mor­risey is the council’s first step toward reaching an agreement with the cit­izens regarding the wording of the signs.

“That’s actually my thought — turning this around and having some sort of artistic contest in the city and turning it into a good thing,” res­ident Penny Swan told the Col­legian.

Swan was the only one to speak out against the signs at the meeting, slashing hopes that a group of cit­izens would arrive to demand change. She said she was dev­as­tated that nobody else came, but happy about Morrisey’s sug­gestion.

“I call this a huge win for me tonight,” Swan said.

Mor­risey shared his idea during the council’s public comment section, where coun­cilmen are able to comment on matters not listed on the agenda.

“The idea would be for someone — maybe Ms. Swan —  to chair an orga­ni­zation with an exec­utive com­mittee,” Mor­risey said. “They would need some legal advice so they wouldn’t get in any trouble, and then they would need to run a ‘design the sign’ contest, so the slogan on the pre­vi­ously existing sign, ‘It’s the people,’ would be inte­grated into a nice total design concept that would all make sense.”

Mor­risey said he thinks the new sign should not be part of the ‘Home of His­toric Hillsdale College’ sign but another, inde­pendent one.

“Instead of just putting a little sign at the bottom of the new sign which doesn’t fit the new sign, we need to think bigger on this,” Mor­risey said. “We should have two signs it seems to me.”

He said the city may need to raise money for the new signs but explained it may be pos­sible to have the mate­rials — and even man hours — donated.

“We cer­tainly have a number of car­penters and painters in this town who would be capable of imple­menting such a design,” Mor­risey said.

Also at the meeting was Hillsdale Pro­fessor of political economy Gary Wolfram, who com­mented that the ‘Home of His­toric Hillsdale College’ signs would bring eco­nomic benefit to the Hillsdale area. He cited an eco­nomic theory explaining that a wayfinding sign — which directs vis­itors to a sig­nif­icant location, and what the ‘Home of His­toric Hillsdale College’ sign will be — invites vis­itors to stop and patronize the city’s busi­nesses.

“Mil­lions of people know Hillsdale College, but they might not know where it is,” Wolfram said. “When someone drives through, they can stop and get lunch some­where. And Hillsdale is his­toric — just look at the Keefer House.”

Wolfram explained that the purpose of the sign is for out­siders to stop, and that a sign iden­ti­fying a reason for them to do so is a way for the city to make money.

Mackie said the city intends to com­plete instal­lation of the new signs this week, and antic­i­pates dis­cussing options for a potential add-on during one of the October meetings.