Note: See Green Acres Sign Saga page for the rest of the story . . .
Note: As I sit here rereading this post, I’m reminded of Arlo Guthrie’s song, Alice’s Restaurant. Yep, it’s a similar kinda tale, and deserves its own song.
Okay, here goes:
I posted a few days ago, the photo of the Indiana University Policeman who found our missing Green Acres Neighborhood sign. Katarina Koch had led a group of young Green Acres residents in garnering a $10K Neighborhood Improvement Grant from the HAND Department of the city of Bloomington to design and install five neighborhood signs at different entrances of the neighborhood. The entire project took over a year, went through many stages and lots of red tape.
Here’s a pic of the final morning, Katarina, John and Melissa wrapping it up to take to Vickie Provine at HAND before the noon deadline, early May 2016.
I, of course, was on pins and needles. Would they get to City Hall in time?
YES! Vickie was also relieved, and looks like a proud mother.
Whew. And now the project was done. Signs installed. Including this one, the smallest of the five, due to the narrow space it occupied. The sign team was ecstatic! (Left to right: Katarina, John, Melissa.)
That was early last May. I was driving down that street a few days later, and . . . what? The 7th Street sign was missing! Only the post remained!
Well, you can imagine the shock. I immediately contacted Kat, Vickie, and the Bloomington Police Department. But no word until just a few days ago, nearly a year later! — when housemate Brie handed me the calling card of an Indiana University policeman who had come to the door during her nap a couple of weeks ago to let us know that he had information about our missing Green Acres sign.
Later that day, she told Kat about the visit, but none of us took it seriously. Thought it must just be the result of her addled napping state. How could the IUPD have info about the sign that had been missing for nearly an entire year? Especially when I had not even contacted the IUPD?
Well, it turns out Brie was right. Office Christopher Collins found it during a stop the IUPD made on Atwater Street (not in Green Acres Neighborhood) during a party weekend a few weekends ago that had 200 students spilling in and out of one house. In a bedroom, he noticed a the top of a sign peeking out of the closet, and recognized it: the logo for Green Acres Neighborhood! He asked those who lived in the house if they knew anything about the sign, and “of course,” he said, laughing, “they all denied it.” He decided to take the sign and see if he could find whom he should give it to for re-installation.
He told us that the reason he had recognized the sign’s logo was because he had owned a house in the neighborhood, had seen both the newly installed sign itself, and our subsequent email alert that the sign had disappeared only days after installation.
With the sign in his trunk, he then went door to door of homes nearby. Nobody knew anything about a sign, in fact they didn’t even know they lived in Green Acres Neighborhood! This is typical of students who live in Green Acres homes, fully 65% of which are registered rentals. This is true especially of the western side of our neighborhood, which borders the university. You can see what we’re up against in our ongoing project to build neighborhood identity and solidarity! Towards the eastern side, where I and others who identify with Green Acres Village live, there’s more awareness, of course, and more pride in all our neighborhood signs!
After racking his brain as to who else to try to contact, he remembered the Green Acres Neighborhood Garden (GANG), and drove over here. Which is when Brie, still sleepy, answered the door. But then another ten days went by before anyone contacted him. He still had the sign in the trunk, but had begun to think nobody cared, when finally, Katarina contacted the IUPD.
We arranged to meet at 7th and Union, so he could tell us his story.
So, there we were, the three of us, the police car, Officer Collins, the wandering sign, and the still standing forlorn post where the sign used to hang (on the other side of the street, in front of the back wheel of the white car).
Kat then took the sign down to the sign company that her team had worked with for months to get the designs and execution of each unique sign just right before installing them. Everywhere Signs agreed to repair the slight damage to the back of the sign, where it had been ripped off the post, and reinstall it.
And guess what! It gets even better! When Kat contacted them to perhaps get a discount on their $198 bill, she received this email in reply.