Welcome to Plainfield: Signs with a message…or three

A sign installed yesterday at Plainwood Square Park, across South Ave from C-Town

A sign installed yesterday at the small park on South Avenue across from C-Town

Back on August 15 I attended a very post-worthy Planning Board meeting. However, since I hadn’t joined Plainfield’s blogosphere, well, naturally, there was no post. A month later the fruits of that meeting, and of a strong push by groups of citizens of Plainfield are bearing their fruit.

That night, I was surprised to encounter Board of Education President Wilma Campbell and School Superintendent Anna Belin-Pyles across the room from me. At the long conference table sat John Louise, Superintendent of Public Works. He described an effort by the Friends of Sleepy Hollow, along with other groups and block associations, to honor Plainfield students through new Welcome to Plainfield signs. Through these individual donations, enough money was raised to afford 14 new signs, ten immediately and four down the line, that will not only welcome people to Plainfield, but, on smaller signs below, will highlight student accomplishments. Three were installed just yesterday. They are:

– Plainwood Square Park, South Ave near Terril Rd
– East Third St and Terrill Road (at Milt Campbell Field)
– Park Ave near South Plainfield border (northbound)

These signs will all be made of metal and will feature a white background with black text. The top sign, which is 36″ x 36″, says “Welcome to Plainfield, home of the PHS Cardinals,” featuring the red bird. Below, there will be three smaller signs, each 7″ x 18″, that will say “State Champs, Boys Basketball 2011”, “State Champs Boys Basketball 2012”, and “Junior State of America #1 in USA, 2013”. If you didn’t know about the championship debate team, don’t feel bad – neither did I and nor did almost everyone else in the room. According to Mr Louise, since the smaller signs are able to be produced and removed as time passes, these accomplishments can continue to be added to or, more likely, replaced by new ones. The signs are expected to last at least 15 years.

Mrs. Campbell and Mrs. Belin-Pyles were there to give this idea a passionate blessing from the Board of Education, and to help hammer home a great presentation by Mr. Louise, who softened the perpetually suspicious board, calming their fears about impact on businesses, aesthetic quality, durability, and other considerations. They voted unanimously to approve the measure. Click here (WelcometoPlainfield) for a PDF of what John Louise gave to Planning Board members on the night of August 15.

Personally, I am extremely excited to see the first of these signs installed. We need to promote civic pride in our city. Too often, especially with truncated media coverage the slow and painful death of local journalism, we get a disproportionate amount of the easy-to-report, negative crime bullets concerning young people in Plainfield. These signs should help raise awareness about these major accomplishments. And while the classic, “historic” wooden signs are a nice touch, they don’t age very well and, if my memory serves me correctly, the most recent ones looked old well before 15 years. All indications are that donors plan to continue to support this project as replacement signs are needed.

That brings me to my next topic, also related to supporting accomplished Plainfield youth. Four Plainfield High School students were chosen as All-Americans by the Universal Cheerleading Association: Andrea Williams, Justine Plummer, Kyle Williams, and Kayla Anderson. As a result, they were invited to attend the London Varsity Tour during this year’s winter break. Unfortunately, only two of them will be attending, but even for two students this trip bears a high cost. If everyone that read this blog was able to donate, their problems would be solved. There is a link for donations where they include more information about themselves. So, you don’t have to feel left out for not having donated to the Welcome to Plainfield signs 🙂

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