Memphians, tourists have varying opinions of new Beale St. sign

(Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Source: WMC Action News 5)

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A brand new neon sign is making its debut on historic Beale Street this week. One side says "Beale Street Memphis" in big blue neon letters, and the other side reads "Home of the Blues, Beale Street."

And everyone has an opinion on it.

"I love the new sign. It represents Memphis," John Johnson, from Memphis, said.

"I mean, you know you're on Beale Street already, so I don't know if you need the sign," Gavin Dixon, who's visiting from Alaska, said.

"It showcases the street. You now know that you are going directly into Beale Street," Teri Flannagan, who lives in Memphis, said.

Most of the people we talked to on the street Friday reacted positively to the new sign.

"I really like the sign. I work for the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, and this will really be an attraction to all the tourists and events that come into town," Flannagan said.

The Downtown Memphis Commission held a design contest in March for the two signs--one that has already been installed at Beale and Main, and another yet to be completed at Beale and Fourth.

The signs cost $144,000--paid for using Beale Street operational funds, not taxpayer dollars.

The reaction to the archway was much different on Twitter.

Delia Baker said "Very Tacky." Joe Sills wrote, "touristy, kind of cartoonish... not big on it."

"Let it be what it is and they'll warm up to it over time, I believe," James Specker, from Chicago, said.

The winner of the Downtown Commission's design contest is Chris Porter, a local artist and Memphian. Porter responded to the criticism with a tweet of his own saying "Hi Haters!"

"We are thrilled to have the new signs commemorating the world's most iconic street. We were involved throughout the process and can't wait to see the lights on every night reminding all visitors, tourists, and residents to join us for what we all know is the most definitive Memphis experience there is," said Sandy Robertson, President of the Beale Street Merchants Association.

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