“It’s the People” is back in Hillsdale.
Due to the work of Ted Jansen, who started a campaign in September to bring a modernized variation of the old City of Hillsdale welcome signs, a new sign welcoming visitors to Hillsdale sits outside the Frank Beck Chevrolet on West Carleton Road.
Jansen, along with the help of a team of students with A Few Good Men, installed the sign on Friday, which will not take the place of the signs installed by the City last year but sits as another welcome to drivers passing by on M‑99.
“People are very glad to have it back,” Jansen said.
Throughout the past two months, Jansen raised $800 for the sign with the help of nearly a dozen people. He said the fundraising went pretty well.
“Some people raised an issue that the sign might be controversial or political,” Jansen said. “So there were barriers, but we did it.”
Jansen said he worked with Stockhouse Printing in Hillsdale to produce the sign.
“It is a contemporary sign,” he said. “Not a duplicate of a prior sign.”
A group of students with a community volunteer outreach program called A Few Good Men helped Jansen with putting up the sign.
Sophomore Nick Scovil, who was one of the students helping with the installation, said in an email that putting up the sign was a lot of fun.
“Helping somebody in the community as excited about it as Mr. Jansen made it easy,” he said. “Who better to put up a sign with that kind of motto than a bunch of college kids who took time out of their busy schedules to volunteer.”
Peter Hawersaat, also a sophomore with A Few Good Men, saw his helping put up the sign as a way of bringing the college and the city together, he said in an email.
“I’m only a sophomore, so I don’t remember when the town’s slogan was, ‘It’s the People,’ but I have noticed a general resentment at the change, almost as if the new slogan signifies that the college is, in a way, swallowing up the town proper,” Hawersaat said. “I think the fact that students helped put up the sign might lessen some of the resentment and might be a step towards healing the rift between the college and town.”
Junior Caroline Hennekes, another member of A Few Good Men who helped install the sign, said in an email that every time she will drive past the sign she will remember Jansen and his joyful nature.
“My growing grumpiness due to the cold didn’t stand a chance compared to Ted Jansen’s exuberant energy and joy as we drilled, nailed, and stabilized the sign declaring, ‘Hillsdale: It’s the People’,” she said.
Several local residents expressed gratitude and excitement at the sight of the sign after Jansen posted a photo of its completion on the “Life in the Hills and Dales of Hillsdale County” Facebook page. On the page, Jansen expressed his “indebtedness to all those who contributed to make this sign a reality.”
“But then after all, It’s the People that make this city a worthwhile place to live,” Jansen said.