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Kiwanis Club partners up to replace old "Welcome to Rhinelander" sign along Boyce DriveSubmitted: 10/31/2018
Story By Lane Kimble

Kiwanis Club partners up to replace old
RHINELANDER - About 2,500 cars use Boyce Drive in Rhinelander each day, according to a recent Wisconsin DOT study.  It's not the busiest entry point, but well-traveled nonetheless.  Drivers heading into the city passed a faded and peeling welcome sign along that stretch for decades, but Wednesday the sign got new life.

"They're going to notice it. It's such a pretty sign," Rhinelander Parks Director Jeremy Biolo said.

The new "Home of the Hodag" sign went up in a matter of minutes Wednesday afternoon. It replaced a nearly identical one that sat about 20 feet farther back off the road on private property.


"We didn't know whose it was, if it was supposed to be the Street Department's or Parks'," Biolo said. "We all just worked together and took care of the problem."

After setting sign posts in cement, Biolo and a co-worker placed the large wooden board along Boyce Drive.

"We've had it in our shop for about a week and we're just totally stoked to get it up," Biolo said.

The Parks Department may have placed the sign, but it wasn't their project.  That fell, at first, on the Kiwanis Club of Rhinelander, including board member Scott Henrichs, who remembers seeing the sign as a child.

"It's been here at least... 40 years," Henrichs said with a laugh.

Henrichs says his group started talking about a replacement sign six or eight months ago. The club's board thought a fresh look would complement the city's new dog park in nearby Shepard Park.

"A nice sign would just accent that and complete the project," Henrichs said.

The sign includes a big yellow and blue Kiwanis Club logo underneath it, which gives the appearance the project was solely theirs, but the group incorporated a number of different people, including the Three Lakes High School Fab Lab to etch the new sign.

Local sawmill owner Jim Nordstrom donated the wood and posts, while George St. Catherine designed the look, handed it off to the Three Lakes students, then painted the finished product.

"[Hopefully people will say] wow, the kids were involved, the students were involved, the community came together and they put up a very, very nice sign," Henrichs said.

The Kiwanis Club hopes the new sign lasts many decades. Biolo plans to use his parks department staff and skills to make sure drivers notice it for just as long.

"Any time you get something new and shiny, it says a lot about the community," Biolo said. "We want things looking decent in Rhinelander and that's the step we're going now."

The Kiwanis Club wanted to make sure it thanked those who volunteered their time to make the project happen. The club gave money to the YMCA of the Northwoods (per St. Catherine's suggestion) and the Three Lakes School Fab Lab for their work.


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