Repairs complete for landmark Jesus Christ sign on I-75 - WNEM TV 5

Repairs complete for landmark Jesus Christ sign on I-75

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Source: Pastor Vanaman Source: Pastor Vanaman
CLARKSTON, MI (WNEM) -

A landmark sign recognizable to drivers from all over the state of Michigan is complete after undergoing renovations.

"The cost of the sign renovation came in at about $45,000, several thousand dollars under estimate. Just over a third was raised through gofundme, the balance through our church family and other donations," said Pastor J. Todd Vanaman of the Dixie Baptist Church.

The sign stands 50 feet tall, 24 feet wide and was constructed from a model nearly 45 years ago shortly after work on I-75 was completed near Exit 93 in Clarkston.

The new design is similar to the original, but features upgrades like LED back-lighting.

"The top hanging chandelier is a return to the original mock up design of 46 years ago, and will feature 4 new different colored panels red, yellow, blue and purple, rather than all red," said Vanaman.

The sign was the idea of Paul Vanaman who was the original Pastor at the Dixie Baptist Church.

"There was this Solomon's head of Christ portrait hanging in my dad's office and he just leaned back in his chair and pointed to that and said something like this,” said J. Todd Vanaman, the current Pastor of Dixie Baptist Church and son of Paul Vanaman.

Vanaman proudly refers to his church's sign as the "Hi-Way Pulpit".

It was showing the effects of several decades of Michigan's ever changing weather. It cost $11,000 to build in 1970 but Vanaman estimated the repairs could cost more than $100,000. It underwent a $25,000 renovation in the 90's and the pastor says it's ready for another.

"Portrait started to fade, and it needs some repair, and there's been some vandalism and damage done to it,” said Vanaman.

The Dixie Baptist Church used a “gofundme” page and leaned on parishioners to raise funds for the repairs.

"The people we are hearing from may not be members or never attended a service it means something to them, whether they've traveled up north and one fellow said about him going to college," said Vanaman.

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