No space for a new face: Mount Rushmore billboards showing up in the Tri-State won't change monument

CINCINNATI - Chances are, any U.S. president looking for face time on Mount Rushmore won't get it.

But that's not stopping from erecting signs on Tri-State thoroughfares. The signs direct drivers to use  Twitter, Facebook or a website to vote for another mug on the South Dakota sculpture.

"This campaign is a little bigger than I've seen before," said Maureen McGee-Ballinger, public information officer with the National Park Service. "But it is fairly common that people usually suggest that someone, usually a president or notable figure, should be added to the sculpture."

The billboards instruct people to "choose the new face" and cast a "Rushmore vote" for George W. Bush or Barack Obama. When voters cast a ballot online, they can't see poll results until they've indicated how they found the website in the first place.

Set in stone

The website does not provide information about who's behind the campaign. A representative for the outdoor advertising company that owns the billboards told she could not reveal the identity of the person or company behind 

The Mount Rushmore National Memorial, as it is officially called, is not associated with the campaign. McGee-Ballinger said she didn't even know about the campaign until contacted her. 

As of March 20, 72 percent of voters at think the iconic monument should stay the way it is, and they're in luck, because McGee-Ballinger said it's not changing.

"There will be no additional carving on the sculpture. The sculpture was completed in 1941 and there is no more carvable (sic) space on it," she said. staffers saw billboards facing the southbound lanes on the Norwood Lateral and along I-75. Users following @9onyourside on Instagram said they spotted signs on Route 125, Route 32 and near Fields Ertel Road.

No space for a new face

Movements to bring a fresh face to Mount Rushmore are nothing new, said McGee-Ballinger. Among other famous names, presidents are popular suggestions. Fans of Ronald Reagan have tried to get the 40th president's face etched into stone. 

"At one point Mickey Mouse has been suggested," McGee-Ballinger said. "There's been a wide variety of people. The simple fact is that there is no more space and that it is a complete sculpture."

Mount Rushmore took 14 years to complete, cost $1 million and displaced 800 million pounds of stones. It was finished Oct. 31, 1941.

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