Flint Weather Ball Letters to Change After Sale of Citizens to FirstMerit Bank
The future of the Flint Weather Ball was up in the air after its owners, Citizens Bank, were acquired by FirstMerit Bank. See what changes are in store for Flint's most well-known (and, pretty much, only) landmark here.
There were concerns that the new owners of the Weather Ball may decide to do away with the highly visible piece of Flint history, which has been perched atop the the Citizens Bank building since 1956. The folks at FirstMerit were surprised to learn that the Weather Ball was the main concern people had in regards to the sale of the bank. "Really, the first question we got from everyone in Flint (after announcing the sale) was ‘What about the weather ball?’" FirstMerit's Michigan CEO Sandy Pierce told MLive. "Everyone knows about it, everyone respects it and everyone looks for it…. This iconic weather ball will continue to define the skyline of Flint, Michigan.”
There you have it. The Weather Ball stays... but that doesn't mean it is going to look the same. During a press conference held Thursday, June 13, Pierce announced that the letters below the Ball ("C-B" for Citizens Bank) would be changed to "F-M," obviously symbolizing the new owners' initials. While the changes will be put into effect soon -- this summer -- no exact timeline has been put forward. You can see a sketch of their design for the Weather Ball below.
Don't be surprised if FirstMerit doesn't announce a date and just switches the letters without notice. Even though the ball is staying, there are still folks who are upset that they are making any changes. The construction will likely be done "ninja style," so those opposed to the changes don't have time to organize a protest.
As a native resident of Flint, I'm glad they're keeping the ball up. However, I would rather have seen them change the letters to "F-L-I," "810," or maybe event "F-L-I-N-T." In fact, I would have been cool with them leaving it alone too. Then again, you can't really blame a company for wanting to take advantage of slapping their initials on the most visible thing in Flint. At least they haven't showed interest in purchasing our second string landmark, that hunk of cement and spray paint on Hammerberg and 12th Street that we all lovingly refer to as the "Flint Rock."