Charlie Hewitt’s “Hopeful” sign, installed on the side of Bates Mill No. 5 earlier this month, will be lit during a short ceremony Tuesday, Dec. 31. The sign, a larger replica of one the Lewiston artist made for Woodfords Corner in Portland, resembles roadside signs from the 1950s and ’60s. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

LEWISTON — Once it’s turned on, Charlie Hewitt is hoping it stays on for awhile, reminding residents to be “Hopeful,” and to remember what makes Lewiston special.

“It’s just a silent prayer … for my community, that we can get together again and embrace what makes this great,” he said earlier this month about the 30-foot-long sign, which will be lit during a short ceremony Tuesday night.

Last week, as fabricator Neokraft Signs installed the sign, the city put out a call to the public, asking residents to share what they are hopeful for. Some of the responses will be read aloud during the ceremony on New Year’s Eve.

The city issued a reminder Monday about the New Year’s Eve event, including details on the short ceremony, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The colorful aluminum sign with a series of LED lights, is now affixed to the Main Street side of Bates Mill No. 5, which will be the gathering place for Tuesday’s event.

The city is asking that those interested in attending the lighting gather in the area between Main Street and the mill at 6:30 p.m., where there will be a few brief speeches regarding the sign as well as a reading of “What are you hopeful for?” Facebook submissions.

The sign will be lit at 7 p.m.

Hewitt has said the sign, a larger replica of one he made for Woodford’s Corner in Portland, was designed as a nod to roadside signs from the 1950s and ’60s.

The City Council approved the installation earlier in December, but no public funds have been used toward the project. Hewitt’s partner and Bates Mill developer Tom Platz said he plans to keep the sign in place until the Bates Mill No. 5 redevelopment begins.

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