A Moss Sign Co. crew on Thursday dismantled an electronic sign on Pack Square that was derided as a hideous stake in the heart of downtown Asheville by detractors, but seen as a critical outlet for advertising and supporting Pack Place’s member organizations.
At 10 years old, the sign’s electronic equipment had begun to fail, and repairs were too expensive for the nonprofit board that oversees Pack Square, which is a conglomeration of museums and a theater, according to Karen Tessier, the head of Pack Place’s board.
Pack Place considered replacing the sign’s more than 4,000 incandescent bulbs with an LED display to create the changeable text and graphics advertising the Asheville Art Museum, the Health Adventure, the Colburn Earth Science Museum and the Diana Wortham Theatre. But the $35,000 cost for repair plus ongoing operation proved too much, according to a statement issued by Pack Place. The organization is also looking at reducing its power bill by $5,000 a year by doing away with the old sign.
It’s unclear what will replace the sign. Banners will go up on the Pack Place building in the coming week, according to Pack Place. In the meantime, there’s no definitive plan for a replacement sign, although Pack Place officials have said they plan on having one.
The sign became a lightning rod for controversy when it was installed in 1999. Criticism centered on the sign’s angular — some said ugly — shape. But Pack Place defended the billboard as critical to the success of its member institutions.
The Pack Place Board of Trustees is offering the sign for sale and hopes to recycle the structure. Interested parties should contact Pack Place Business Manager Heather Nelson at 257-4544, ext. 303, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to see a Mountain Xpress,/i> photo gallery of the sign coming down.
— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor