2016-09-15 / Front Page

New look M-22 signs a years-old program


M22 SIGNS without the ‘M” have replaced approximately 90 signs bearing the M22 logo stolen from roadsides in the past three years, a Michigan Department of Transportation spokesman said. M22 SIGNS without the ‘M” have replaced approximately 90 signs bearing the M22 logo stolen from roadsides in the past three years, a Michigan Department of Transportation spokesman said. Recent articles in statewide publications have proclaimed that signs marking Leelanau’s iconic M-22 are getting a facelift.

The facelift has been underway for about three years.

Eventually all road signs along Leelanau’s “circle tour” will be replaced with a new design that simply states, “22.”

The change was made in an effort to make the signs less desirable to thieves.

“We’re only replacing signs as they are stolen,” said James Lake, spokesman for the Michigan Department of Transportation. “We’ve been doing it for about the past three years. I think people are just starting to notice it.”

A few years ago the state hired Action Traffic Maintenance Co. of Grand Blanc to replace all signs along M-22, including the M-22 signs — many of which were missing, having been stolen over the past several years. The replacements used the established M-22 logo that a private company trademarked and has turned into a profitable business, as evidenced in t-shirts and stickers prevalent throughout the state.

The old signs, though dented and scratched, have been put to good use.

The company agreed to sell the signs to the Leelanau Enterprise, which wanted to use them for charity, for the price of their metal or about $5 each. After learning what they would be used for, company owner Tom Peake donated them.

The signs have been numbered and signed for authenticity by Leelanau County Sheriff Mike Borkovich, former Road Commission Chair Lee Bowen and Tom Van Pelt, former chair of the Leelanau County Board of Commissioners.

A permanent sticker affixed to each sign shows that it once hung on M-22 in Leelanau County and was obtained legitimately.

On Saturday, No. 47 of the limited supply of signs garnered $550 in a silent auction at the Rotary Rally for Kids in Lake Leelanau. Funds will go to support the Leelanau Christian Neighbors’ Blessings in a Backpack program.

Since the inception of the program the signs have raised about $35,000 for non-profits. However, the signs are running out, with no apparent replacements.

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