2017-02-10 / Front Page

Sign plows up public works pride

By Wm. Duke Harrington Staff Writer


Posing Monday in front of the new sign installed last week in front of the Kennebunk Public Works garage are department employees, from left, Nick Charleston, Steven Leach, Dave DeWitt, Matt Cluff, Steve Nason, Nick Farris and Bob Emmons. (Duke Harrington photo) Posing Monday in front of the new sign installed last week in front of the Kennebunk Public Works garage are department employees, from left, Nick Charleston, Steven Leach, Dave DeWitt, Matt Cluff, Steve Nason, Nick Farris and Bob Emmons. (Duke Harrington photo) KENNEBUNK — Sometimes, all it takes is a sign to make people smile.

Anyone driving by the Kennebunk Public Works garage on Sea Road this past week may have noticed a new sign marking the entrance. The words “Kennebunk Public Works, est. 1820” stand emblazoned on a giant 1950s era V-style snow plow, painted bright orange.

Equipment operator Matt Cluff said he got the idea based on other towns in northern Maine and New Hampshire, which once used the old-style V-plows, similar to equipment on train locomotives, to clear mountain passes.

“Your’re up there and almost all the towns have these big old Vs out on display,” Cluff said, on Monday. “So, I thought it would look pretty cool here. I figured we should have a sign to let people know where we are, and who we are. We used to have a sign out front years ago. I don’t know what happened to it. We never got it back. So, we all thought this would be a good idea, that it’d be something a little different than a regular wooden sign.”

Cluff credits former town manager Barry Tibbetts with approving the request to obtain a plow to use as a sign, and Public Services Director Eric Labelle with allowing the road crew to work on it as time allowed.

Operations Manager Scott Wentworth got the old plow blade from S. A. McLean Inc. in Limerick, Labelle said, trading in an old sanding unit for which the town no longer had any use.

“He’s got a whole dooryard full of plows and stuff. Anything to do with snow, he’s got it. And if he doesn’t, he can get it for you,” Cluff said. “He did us a real nice deal.”

With no money spent on the plow, the crew refurbished it themselves.

“We all chipped in and puttered around on it, an hour here, a half-hour there,” Cluff said.

The town then hired Spectrum Signs in Biddeford to do the lettering.

“He’d never done anything like this before. His first question was, ‘You guys gonna plow with that?’” Cluff said, with a laugh.

According to Labelle, the town paid “under $1,000” total for the project.

“I thought that was reasonable for a sign that big. And no doubt, this one will last for years,” Cluff said. “If nothing else, they can’t miss us now.”

Some might argue the town should have tried to sell the sander, or should not have spent money painting the plow, or, at the very least, should not have allowed any work to be done on the town timeclock. However, selectboard chairman Dick Morin said he’s a big fan of the result.

“It’s no secret that people feel better about themselves and their work when they are in nice looking, quality surroundings,” he said. “I think this looks great and if it gives the guys down there a little bit of added pride in their place of work, and some extra sense of ownership in the site for having worked as a team to make this happen, I think it was money well spent.”

Staff Writer Duke Harrington can be reached at news@kennebunkpost.com.

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