Archive for Thursday, December 9, 2004

Sign helps spread word in community

December 9, 2004

Want to know what is happening in Lansing?

Simply drive north or south on Main Street and check out the community sign sitting by the Fire Department on the east side of Main Street, and just north of Kansas Avenue. The 3-year-old sign reflects many of the most current events scheduled for the public, and it is available to any group that has a need to notify the public.

Prior to the emergence of The Current, Lansing did not have a reliable and convenient means of "spreading the word" or reminding folks of upcoming events. Lansing PRIDE was quite aware of the loss of the former newspaper, and the lost communication means it provided. For years the PRIDE steering committee had a vision of having some sort of sign that could announce upcoming events. But signs cost money, they take up room, must be in a place where they can be seen, and a means of updating them must be developed. All this seemed beyond PRIDE. However, certain events made it possible.

A library was established close to the Lansing Correctional Facility (LCF). LCF had an open field, visible to oncoming traffic on Main from both the north and south.

The Fire Department had embarked upon a building project that involved some building materials. Gene Young had the idea that made it all happen. If a sign could be put up along Main Street, using construction materials that already existed, by using the library as a drop-off point for requests, and the prison officials' agreement to do the actual posting of the sign, it might just work. The remaining problem was funding the actual sign materials, and letters, which amounted to several thousand dollars, but far less than the $50,000 or more required of most signs of this type.

Through gifts from civic organizations such as the Lansing Lions, Kiwanis, Lansing PRIDE and the city of Lansing, sufficient funds were generated to build the sign. Prison labor erected much of the project, and Young Sign Company donated labor and skills, as well as some of the incidental materials to finish the sign. It was completed and began functioning just three years ago.

Getting a community event on the sign is easy. Go to the Lansing Library or to Lansing City Hall at least two weeks before you want the message posted and fill out a form with basic information. The forms are collected and forwarded to Gene and Ada Young (or John Bennett when they are out of town), who in turn send the forms via e-mail to the Warden's Office where the prison staff and inmates finalize the process.

During certain times of the year demands nearly outgrow available space, so keep your requests timely, and reasonable as to size and when you want it posted

We'll read about you on the sign!

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