New “Hollywood-Style” Detroit Sign Cultivates Mixed Reviews

Hate it or love it; the Detroit sign is up on I-94.
Photograph by Montez Miller, courtesy of the City of Detroit

In celebration of the upcoming NFL Draft, the highly-anticipated Detroit sign was officially installed earlier this month. The sign was unveiled along eastbound I-94 between Central St. and Cecil Ave. for visitors to see as they entered the downtown area for the Draft.

The thing is, the sign isn’t exactly what people expected, and many Detroiters aren’t happy with the look at all, with social media reactions to the sign making headlines.

The sign is one of five welcome signs popping up around metro Detroit leading up to the Draft. DTE recently installed LED lights inside the letters to illuminate the sign after dark, which seems to have swayed some of the sign’s critics.

The project was a collaboration between the city, DTE Energy, Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and Fairmont Sign Company. Built by Fairmont Sign Company, who has worked with other Detroit names including the Fox Theatre and Wayne State University, the sign cost the city about $425,000.

Gmac Cash, a Detroit rapper known for hits like Big Gretch and Potholes, released a new song about the sign a day after it went up.

“This ain’t the sign we ordered, you can take it back,” he says. The minute-long diss track has thousands of views on YouTube already. “We must have got this sign at a discount,” he raps in another verse.

Mayor Mike Duggan attributes the mixed reviews were brought on by a misleading unofficial social media post, according to the Free Press. At an NFL Draft news conference, Duggan said he was also surprised by the post floating around online that shows a grandiose Detroit sign in the exact style of the Hollywood sign. After contacting General Services Director Brad Dick, Duggan realized “some guy on Instagram just made it up.”

Whether we like it or not, the sign is here to stay. The letters are permanent — they’re not coming down after the Draft.

What are your thoughts on the Detroit sign? Let us know in the comments