BAY CITY, MI (WNEM) – Good news for Madonna fans: The Queen of Pop will be commemorated in her birthplace of Bay City. New signs will be placed at city entrances saying, “Welcome to Bay City: Birthplace of Madonna.”
The idea came with much enthusiasm at a meeting Monday night. Bay City Commissioner Chris Girard, 6th Ward hopes honoring the diva will bring some tourism to the town.
“People see something like that,” said Girard, “They may have interest in exploring our town a little more. I think it’s something we’ve missed the boat on for many years, and so let’s take advantage of that fact.”
The Material Girl was born in Bay City, and frequently visited her grandparents during her childhood. Their home on the west side of the city still attracts some tourists.
A simple sign or two can do a lot to re-brand the city.
“When I go in the community and people ask me where I’m from, I say, I’m right here!,” explained Girard holding up his hand, “Bay City, Michigan! I also talk about Madonna’s birth town, and I think a lot of other people I’ve talked to kinda do the same thing.”
For years, the city has had a love/hate relationship with the Queen of Pop. After she publicly called her birthplace a “smelly little town in Northern Michigan.” This was not out of distaste for the town, but in reference to the smell from a petroleum plant close by that is now closed.
But now, city commissioners think it’s time to change that image.
“Just having that name on there,” said city resident Rody Dodd, “I think a lot of people will see that when they come in to town. I think that’ll be great.”
Other cities honor their famous residents, so Bay City wonders: why not them?
“I grew up in New Jersey,” said George Herron in Bay City, “and Martha Stewart grew up there and they honor her. I think we outta do the same idea to Madonna here.”
The new signs will be funded privately and visible to citizens not too long in the future.
by Alana Holland, TV5 Reporter