ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – It’s going on two years since the sign that welcomes drivers into the City of Elmira was defaced, and there has been little work done to repair it.

However, local officials say they are looking at options to not just repair the time-worn sign, but replace it altogether.

After the Jan. 26, City Council meeting, Elmira City Manager Mike Collins told 18 News that the city has money (part of $10 million from the American Rescue Plan) to create a new sign. According to Collins, the Buildings and Grounds and Sanitation Departments are “working with a local individual” to come up with a new design for the sign.

Collins didn’t lay out a specific timeline for the project, but said “it’s in the works” to hopefully be completed in 2023.

“The goal is to remove everything for the ‘Welcome to Elmira’—the sign itself, the individuals on there—and have a new sign welcoming people to the city,” Collins said. “We need to look at costs; we need to look at options, what it will look like. And then we’ll decide as a committee.”

The current sign features some of the most prominent Elmira figures throughout history, including astronaut Eileen Collins, Mark Twain, Ernie Davis, John Jones, Hal Roach, and Tommy Hilfiger. In the summer of 2021, drivers in Elmira noticed that the face of former NBC anchor Brian Williams was defaced and covered up with the head and shoulders of Judge Janine Pirro, another Elmira native.

The next day, the majority of Pirro’s image was removed. However, since July 2021, the bottom of the picture has remained, still partially covering Williams.