Billboard repair is community project in East Perry County

Friday, September 1, 2006

UNIONTOWN, Mo. -- After a year of looking at the faded, damaged sign, Pierre "Nic" Antoine could take no more.

The billboard, at U.S. 61 and Route A in Uniontown, showcases historical points of interest in east Perry County. More than a year ago it was damaged by vandals who spray painted it with profanity.

"It looks like we're a bunch of hicks down here," Antoine said.

When a year went by without any repairs done outside of covering up the profanity, Antoine got fed up and wrote a letter to the editor of the Perry County Republic-Monitor pleading with local residents to donate to help repair the sign.

And it worked.

Following Antoine's letter a week ago, $1,500 has been donated, Altenburg, Mo., Lions Club president Bob Hecht said.

The Lions Club, in charge of upkeep on the roughly 35-year-old billboard, set up a committee shortly after the vandalism to look into restoring the sign, according to Hecht.

But with a cost of about $4,000, repairing the damage was out of the club's budget. On Wednesday, the committee met with Antoine and decided to recommend the club seek donations from the community for the repairs, Hecht said.

"No one person or organization should be responsible for this sign," Antoine said. Everyone in east Perry County should pitch in to help the sign, Antoine said, calling the billboard a "symbol of our community."

Anyone wishing to donate to the fund can so by mail: Altenburg Lions Club Sign Fund, care of Robert Hecht, P.O. Box 128, Altenburg, Mo., 63732.

In addition to the repairs, the sign would also include new landmarks such as the Lutheran Heritage Center and Museum in Altenburg, Hecht said.

kmorrison@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 127

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