Days or weeks from now, when the banners and paper signs congratulating Aly Raisman are taken down, visitors to Needham will still have no doubt they are entering the Olympian's hometown.
A series of signs unveiled by Needham Town Manager Kate Fitzpatrick Tuesday night declare Needham as the "Home of Aly Raisman, 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist." Decorated with red, blue and black lettering, the signs show an image of a gymnast and three medals representing the two gold and one bronze medals Raisman won at the London Games. The signs were designed pro bono by Needham artist Charles Wright (who also designed the "100 Years of Fenway" seat at New Garden Restaurant for the "A Chair To Remember Project").
The permanent signs, to be located at the town's entrances, will be made of metal, but for now, officials will be putting up temporary paperboard versions of the signs, Fitzpatrick said.
In addition, new banners honoring Raisman will be hung this week on signposts at Chapel Street and Highland Avenue, Fitzpatrick said.
Town officials are working closely with Raisman's family and agent to plan a celebration of her homecoming for the near future. Nothing has been set yet, but Fitzpatrick said the town would be sure to publicize the details once they are in place.
"The minute we know, we will notify everyone through every means necessary," she said.
Town employees have been fielding quite a few calls over the past few days from people wondering about parade or celebration plans as well as from individuals looking to help out.
“I can’t tell you how many—probably 60 people have called offering everything from cake to Porta Pottys to help us out,” Fitzpatrick said.
During the Olympics, the town pulled together a special "Rally for Aly" at Town Hall, where residents could come and watch Raisman compete live in the women's gymnastics all-around final. A banner congratulating Raisman still hangs over the front entrance of Town Hall, and another banner lies on a table in the main hallway where visitors can write their own message of congratulations on it.