Kangaroo crossing sign in Clintonville was put up as joke, but removal has stirred outcry - News - The Columbus

Ann Miller-Tobin would like to make a public apology.

She never meant to kill the Clintonville kangaroo.

For years, the quirky, black-and-yellow, "kangaroo crossing" street sign posted in the 100 block of Clinton Heights Avenue piqued her interest. So the former resident of the Columbus neighborhood wrote to WOSU radio station, asking about the origins of the sign that has a black image of the marsupial, she said.

The sign suddenly disappeared Monday morning, about a week after a reporter called the city with questions, according to a report from the station.

"You know the saying, 'Curiosity killed the cat?' Well, my curiosity killed the kangaroo," Miller-Tobin, 48, said.

The city's decision to remove the sign has sparked an outcry from Clintonville residents on social media, many of whom noted the beloved oddity had been posted there for years without issues.

Once they became aware of the official-looking sign in the right of way, city employees removed it, said Jeff Ortega, a spokesman for the Columbus Department of Public Service.

"It's a safety issue, having unregulated signs," Ortega said.

A GoFundMe page hoping to purchase and install another kangaroo crossing sign in its place had collected $130 as of Monday evening. Any extra funds will go to the Kangaroo Sanctuary in Alice Springs, Central Australia, according to the page.

A remorseful Miller-Tobin pitched in $20 and an apology.

Despite the unexpected commotion, her question has been answered.

Clintonville resident Jared Laughbaum, 37, said he posted the sign as a joke in 2014, replacing a legitimate orange construction sign related to a construction project at the nearby Clinton Elementary School that was left long after the project ended. Online, you can buy a sign such as the kangaroo one for about $20.

Laughbaum said he never meant any harm. He expected the prank sign would be removed within days, but it remained and became a topic of community interest.

Kids walking to school often jumped to conclusions about its origins — Did someone in the area have a pet kangaroo? Did the creatures once roam central Ohio? — but the truth isn't nearly as interesting, he said.

If he can reclaim his sign, Laughbaum said he'd like to get the OK to post it at the nearby school — if it can't be returned to the right of way.

"I never expected it would become a landmark of Clintonville," he said, "but it's something everyone seemed to enjoy."

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