Pack Place sign dismantled

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

Click here to see a Mountain Xpress,/i> photo gallery of the sign coming down.

— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor


Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

13 thoughts on “Pack Place sign dismantled

  1. hauntedheadnc

    Hopefully, some local artists will step up to the plate with workable designs. You’d hardly know half the stuff in Pack Place was there without some sort of decent signage.

  2. bobeaux

    It was informative and easy to read when driving by.
    It would have been more productive to get rid of the ugly aluminum trip at pritchard park. Now that’s a piece of ugly!

  3. John Smolkin

    Hauntedhead, how is this for a replacement. Submitted by a Manhattan transplant. A one story high flashing neon sign, you know, the type at Times Square in Nu Yoik. Then we can build a rash of 40 story skyscrapers around it and be real “urban”. -:)

    Seriously, I am in favor of a tasteful, but modest, sign that does not detract from what is already there. Oh and I agree with the post that the shiny aluminum piece of “art” at Pritchard Park should be hauled away. What an eyesore. Put up a statue of General Robert E Lee in it’s place.

  4. brebro

    Has it really been 10 years?? It seems like only yesterday that it was mantled.

  5. Bo Duke

    General Lee? The car from the Dukes of Hazzard? Man, that would be sooo sweet!! Great idea John Smolkin!!
    You rarely have any, but that was good.

  6. I agree, brebro. I can’t believe it’s been up for 10 years. Feels like we just got through all that controversy.

  7. John Smolkin

    The “General Lee” was named for General Robert E Lee, a true Southern hero. A great idea as it would celebrate the South. But, General Robert E Lee as statue should be in the center of town, Pritchard park. We can put up the General Lee at what is now Riverlink park. Then open the old race track back up! YES!

  8. Piffy!

    i dont think people move here from manhatten, john smolkin.

    maybe jersey, or upstate ny, but not too many form manhatten.

    sorry to disappoint you.

  9. John Smolkin

    “i dont think…” – PFK. Well that’s obvious PFK. -:) By the way, are you from Joisey or upstate Nu Yoik?

    A statue of General Robert E Lee at Pritchard Park. And a statue of Colonel/Governor Vance at pack Square!

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.