In the community

Effort to restore iconic sign between Vale and Ontario kicks off

A fundraising effort to restore the “Vale or Bust” sign on U.S. Highway 20 between Vale and Ontario is underway. (The Enterprise/PAT CALDWELL)

VALE – For at least 19 years the “Vale or Bust” sign on U.S. Highway 20 greeted motorists traveling west from Ontario but a spate of autumn windstorms damaged the land mark.

Now, an informal group of local people led by Vale residents Kathy Saldana and Tina Bradfield aim to put up a new sign in the same spot as the old sign. The old sign is attached to the side of a grain silo just off the highway about five miles east of Vale.

Saldana said organizers want to put up a new sign with solar lights and are seeking donations.

 “I think it is very important. It (the sign) has become like the Vale rodeo, a staple of Vale, a part of the town,” said Saldana.

Saldana, the former owner of A Street Tavern in Vale, said she wants to raise $2,500. Saldana said she already donated $500 and plans to utilize TNT Signs & Graphics in Ontario to make a new sign.

The replacement will be like the original ­– a wagon framed by the words: “Vale or Bust.”

Area residents may have already seen the plastic donation jugs at stores and restaurants around Vale. Saldana said she began to visit local merchants earlier to see if they would allow the jugs.

No one, she said, turned her away.

Saldana said the “Vale or Bust” sign holds the same type of renown as the Golden Slipper once did. The Golden Slipper nightclub was once the anchor of a two-story brick building that collapsed in January 2017 on Vale’s main street.

“It is like when the Slipper fell down. There were a few of us, me included, who cried because it was such a part of Vale. It is history,” said Saldana.

Saldana said the effort started at Thanksgiving when her son, who was visiting from out of town, asked about the sign.

“So, I put it on Facebook and found out that other people had kind of been wondering what was going on with it. Then, all of the sudden, there was a lot of people who said they’ve been wondering too,” said Saldana.

Tom Vialpando, Vale mayor, said the plan for a new sign is “a great idea.”

“The sign is just something that catches your eye as you drive by. I am pretty stoked. If someone is willing to take on a project, count me in,” said Vialpando.

Saldana said the best way to donate is to find one of the donation jugs around town.

“I know there is enough interest,” said Saldana.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected].

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