Iconic Memphis sign forced to move - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Iconic Memphis sign forced to move

By Josh Frydman

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - An iconic Memphis sign will soon have to find a new home.

With its neon lights and tributes to the city's musical heritage, the Memphis welcome sign has become a symbol for those heading into the city from Arkansas.

"It's been on TV shows, been in movies," said Kevin Kane with the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau.  "It has become one of those things that has been photographed and very visible to people in Downtown Memphis."

But the sign won't be there much longer.

As Bass Pro Shops takes over The Pyramid, part of the project involves relocating the Lonstar Concrete Company, which houses the welcome sign.

"We're going to have to obviously figure out an alternative opportunity for that," said Kane.

The sign, a Memphis signature since 1999, has had its problems.

"Quite honestly, it has become a maintenance nightmare over the last decade," said Kane.  "Every time a bird hits certain letters, it cause the sign to go dark in certain places."

"I think it just needs to be updates, probably the neon's a little out of date," said Memphis resident Sarah Cullum.  "You may need to change it so it's flashier and more people notice it."

Kane said plans for a new sign could be used to promote more than just one aspect of the city.

"With technology and LED and everything that's out there now, there's probably a much more efficient way to get the message," said Kane.  "And it will give us some flexibility to sometimes project more than one message."

The sign may move, but one thing will not change.

"It will still flash on a regular basis, 'Welcome to Memphis, Home of the Blues, Birthplace of Rock and Roll,'" said Kane.

Kane said a possible destination for the new welcome sign is the west side of the Memphis Cook Convention Center.  He added that the city could support the cost of the new sign by using digital advertising.

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