Iconic Citgo sign at center of debate

BOSTON (WHDH) - The iconic Citgo sign in the center of Kenmore Square is now at the center of debate.

The Boston Landmarks Commission held a public hearing Tuesday night in response to its own report that recommends designating the sign as an official landmark.

If landmark status is granted, the sign would be protected from future development issues such as blocked views or being moved from its perch atop 660 Beacon St.

However, the developers that own 660 Beacon say landmark status would only complicate relationships with Citgo, which owns the sign.

But supporters argue the sign has become much more than an advertisement.

“There isn’t even a gas station there,” said Greg Galer of the Boston Preservation Alliance. “So for Bostonian and for people in New England, it really transcended that meaning. It really represents Boston.”

People who live in Kenmore Square have also expressed concern for who will maintain the sign if Citgo suddenly refuses to once landmark status is granted.

That, too, is a concern for Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

“Who is going to take care of the cost of maintaining it?” he asked. “It’s something I want to be careful about and don’t want the taxpayers absorbing.”

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