When Heather Carmona learned two All-American Road signs had been stolen from Woodward Avenue in Royal Oak, the Woodward Avenue Action Association executive director decided to fight back, creatively.
Last Monday, the WA3 filed a theft report with the Royal Oak Police Department after maintenance crews reported two All-American Road signs were missing – one at Fourth Street and the other at Cambridge near the restaurant.
The signs were installed this spring to celebrate the history and heritage of Woodward Avenue, which runs from Detroit to Pontiac. In all, 50 signs were installed along the 27-mile stretch of Woodward Avenue. Two signs in Pontiac are also missing.
The signs were funded through a National Scenic Byway grant from the Federal Highway Administration, at no cost to communities. Each heavy gauge aluminum sign is 24 inches x 48 inches and costs approximately $400.
Carmona said her group fears as the weather gets better, the Woodward Dream Cruise approaches and the signs draw more attention that more of them will disappear. So the group has come up with a clever solution.
“We’ve decided to sell replicas of the signs,” Carmona said. The copies will be just as colorful and nostalgic as the real ones, but they’ll be smaller and lighter and cost around $100 each.
Nationally, only 31 byways have been designated All-American Roads by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Others include historic Route 66, the Las Vegas Strip and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
“Each All-American Road has its own sign. Our image is one of a kind. You will not see one like it anywhere else in the country,” Carmona said. WA3 worked with MDOT and CERB Associates, a communication and design firm in Pleasant Ridge, to come up with attention-grabbing signs.
Carmona hopes the public will take advantage of this opportunity to purchase replicas. The money raised will go toward the maintenance and replacement of existing signs as needed, and for beautification and public art projects along Woodward.