COLUMBUS (WCMH) – There aren’t any wild kangaroos in Central Ohio, but that’s not stopping neighbors in Clintonville from sharing the animal’s image around town.
The community is banding together to #SaveTheRoo, after a beloved kangaroo crossing sign was taken down on Clinton Heights Avenue in March.
The sign stood outside Shannon Winnubst’s home for four years.
“We had a construction sign up for almost a year and a half, following construction down at the school down the street. We called the city several times to ask them to please take down this gigantic construction sign and they wouldn’t do it,” she said. “So, we started talking about how to make it something funky and make it something creative for the community.”
On Christmas Eve, Winnubst said her next-door neighbor, Jared Laughbaum, replaced it with the iconic kangaroo sign.
“On Christmas morning he called up and he said, ‘Did you see what Santa left you?’ Since then it’s become a huge icon for the kids, especially, who go to Clinton (Elementary),” she said. “It was about something silly and something fun and something creative.”
The City of Columbus Department of Public Service said the sign was taken down because it didn’t have a permit, which is needed in a public right of way.
But, the sign is being revived in other ways. It’s popping up all over the neighborhood, on cars, lawns and signs. Even the marquee at Studio 35 reads “SAVE THE ROO”. Many of the miniature signs were created by the owner of EccoLyfe Designs, Jeremy Felder.
“It’s non-violent. It’s fun and it’s happy. We see so many people that are aggressive about political things and this is the flip-side that nobody sees,” said Felder. “We can still have a voice that’s just as strong in the community to change things.”
Neighbor Scott Hammond said they’re hoping to work with Clinton Elementary to install the sign somewhere at the school.
“It’s ok to be funny and unique and different,” he said. “To me, it represents creativity and the sign became part of the culture of the neighborhood.”
The kangaroo symbol is becoming much more than just a silly sign. Winnubst said it’s bringing the community together.
“We’re trying to really build this out as a community issue, about making Columbus more art-friendly and more friendly to creative expression,” said Winnubst.
Besides trying to find a new home for the original sign, Hammond said they are also looking into the possibility of fundraising for the kangaroo program at the Columbus Zoo.