CASA GRANDE — Downtown Casa Grande is set to be a little more electrified.
On Friday city and civic leaders held a ceremonial groundbreaking on the Casa Grande Neon Sign Park, which will be created in Arizona Plaza. The park will feature about 14 rehabilitated, mid-century electric signs along with walking paths and benches.
On Friday, the first steps were taken to transform a shaded courtyard in the plaza into the park. The land is owned by the Kramer family, the owners of Casa Grande Valley Newspapers Inc. and PinalCentral.
Kara Cooper, co-publisher, said her late father, Donovan M. Kramer Sr., who purchased the nearly 4-acre parcel in 2000, had a vision for the area that included much more than just a parking lot.
“We promise to be good stewards for Casa Grande,” she said.
Signs in the park include the Goddard Shoe sign, a Dairy Queen sign from Winslow and one from the Sacaton Motel in downtown Casa Grande. Another electric sign, the Sunset Court motel sign, is mounted on an adjacent building that houses Western Trading Post.
An Arby’s sign that was taken off the Casa Grande restaurant on Florence Boulevard during its recent remodeling will be housed at the nearby Museum of Casa Grande, said Marge Jantz, chairwoman of the city’s Historic Preservation Commission and sign enthusiast.
That Arby’s sign isn’t illuminated as the others are, she noted, adding that the museum sent a few signs to be on permanent loan to the park, so it was just right to send one back to the museum.
Jantz and Casa Grande Main Street Director Rina Rien began the process about 18 months ago to fund the park, which had been a vision of Jantz’s for some time. The pair were the successful recipients of a $144,000 grant for the project. Ongoing maintenance and electricity will need to be paid for through other donations, Jantz said.
You can listen to an interview with Jantz about the Neon Sign Park on the PinalCentral podcast.
Construction and electric installation is expected to take just a few months, with a grand opening tentatively scheduled for April.