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Historic signs get facelift

Scout Troop 278 giving Colonie’s historic markers a makeover

Boy Scout Troop 278 paints historical signs from around the Town of Colonie as part of a renovation project.

Boy Scout Troop 278 paints historical signs from around the Town of Colonie as part of a renovation project. Photo by Zan Strumfeld.

— The Town of Colonie is steeped in history, but as the clock ticks, memories of the past can fade away.

That’s literally the case with some of the town’s iconic blue-and-yellow historical signage. As part of a renovation project, Boy Scout Troop 278 began painting eight of Colonie’s 16 historical signs that describe significant landmarks in the area on Wednesday, Nov. 14.

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Boy Scout Troop 278 paints historical signs as part of a Town of Colonie renovation project.

The nearly 60-square-mile town had several historic markers erected in the 1930s by the New York Education Department, but since the state no longer funds the sign program, restoring them has been left up to individual municipalities, Town Historian Kevin Franklin said.

“Some of the signs have disappeared over time through road projects … they moved them, never put them back. Nobody even knows where some of them are today,” Franklin said. “They were taken down, struck by cars or whatever. These signs are not cheap.”

Instead of buying new signs, the old ones have been sandblasted and primed through Sign Shop Foreman Kevin France, and the scouts can now paint and have the signs completed by January 1.

Franklin said part of the project is also to spruce up some of the area around the signs to make the sites more presentable.

“Make them bright and shiny and bring them to the attention again of people that drive by them on a daily basis,” Franklin said.

Scoutmaster Leland Hilt said the town had sent an email a few months back looking for volunteers for the project, and his scouts were the “only ones that ponied up.”

“One of the things we do for scouting is community, give back and be a better citizen,” Hilt said. “Make your society better, make your town better.”

The project also gives a hands-on perspective of history for the boys, who range in age from 10 to 16. The troop has learned about some of the historical significance of the signs.

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