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New welcome sign is symbol of Sanford’s renaissance, one year after flood

Brett Dahlberg

A new welcome sign lit up in the Village of Sanford Monday, just less than one year after a flood washed the old one away.

“It was wiped away down to the base,” said village president Dolores Porte.

Like much of Sanford, the intersection of Cedar Street and Saginaw Road, where the sign stood, was under several feet of water last May, after dams on the Tittabawassee River failed and unleashed a torrent that flooded communities along the river’s path.

Now, with a bright blue color scheme selected by Porte, the new sign features a clock, a thermometer and a new graphic for the village.

“Sure, it’s just a sign,” she said. “Lots of places have one, but it’s also a symbol for all of us.”

The sign marks the center of Sanford’s small business district, said Teresa Quintana, a local realtor who leads the nonprofit Sanford Strong. Its return signals that Sanford is coming back, she said. It stands across the street from the newly reopened hardware store and a rebuilt restaurant, and a block down Cedar Street lies previously flooded land that will become a new village park.

“There’s so much going on. The clock coming in, you know, that’s -- that’s just a symbolic thing, but it’s good. I think everybody in the community seems really excited about it,” Quintana said.

Brett joined WCMU in February, 2021, as a general assignment reporter. He was previously the health reporter at WXXI Public Broadcasting in Rochester, N.Y., and has filed stories for National Public Radio, IEEE Spectrum, The Village Voice and other outlets.
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