The entire process in completing a sign took Riffel and his wife about four or five days.
“I would take the sign down, then would use a wire brush, a drill and clean it up. I might use some primer because some were so rusty,” he said.
After letting the primer sit for a day or two, he said he would then add two coats of green paint.
“It would take a couple of days for the paint to dry,” Riffel said. “My wife would paint four coats of white on the letters and then the signs were sprayed with a clear lacquer.”
Getting the signs to dry, especially in the winter, was what took time, he said.
Once the painting was completed, Riffel said he would bolt the signs back on the respective post.
“The posts were all different heights,” he said. “Some I could reach standing on the ground, some required a ladder and a lot of the bolts were really rusty.”
Riffel said he unscrewed some of the bolts and broke or sawed off others.
One resident even had a special request when he noticed there was only one Pioneer Court sign.
The resident purchased signs from a company in South Dakota, Riffel said, and he and his wife are painting them now.
“A lot of the signs are like the Pioneer Court sign,” he said, “with two signs sandwiched together so somebody sees what street from either direction.”
Hillcrest and Ridgeway streets have three signs on one post, he added.
Prior to beginning the project, Riffel said he drove all around the lake to see which signs needed repainting.
About the same time the Riffels started working on their plans to fix the signs, a public meeting was at the lake hall in mid-March to discuss concerns with Marion County Commissioner Dan Holub.
In addition, Steve Hudson, lake superintendent, was also available to answer questions at that meeting.
One priority was replacing or repairing damaged street signs around the lake and asking if the county is responsible.
“The street signs are in bad shape,” a resident told Holub.
Holub said the county was not responsible for maintaining the signs, but Hudson said one of the residents already volunteered to do the work on his own time.
“We are grateful Ed (Riffel) is doing this work,” Hudson said.
For Riffel, it was simply a matter of taking the signs down, cleaning them up, painting them and while those were drying, were rotated and more signs were brought in.
“We just kept on going,” Riffel said.
“Some of the residents came out and talked with me about how nice they looked as I was taking a sign down or putting one back up,” he said.
Other residents helped pay for paint and supplies.
Initially, Riffel said he thinks the Chat & Dine Club put the first street signs up.
“I am not sure, but that was my understanding,” he said.
Holub said there were several people complaining about the condition of the signs for various reasons to include that they were hard to read.
“They came, they saw, they complained,” Holub said. “Ed Riffel came, he saw, he volunteered to fix the situation at his own expense. This speaks for itself.”
In total, the Riffels repainted 43 signs.
“We think we got them all,” he said with a smile.