CARLSBAD — A day after the lighting of the Encinitas sign in October 2000, realtor Carlton Lund realized Carlsbad’s need for one as well.
He embarked on a 14-year mission to get the city a sign, which is about to be realized.
The Carlsbad sign weighs more than 19,000 pounds and scheduled to be installed in the late hours Dec. 29.
The project saw six different variations of the sign and was narrowly denied by city council once, and eventually approved this past June.
Lund said the first denial turned out to be a good thing since it inspired him to do more research.
He and some of his supporters, including the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, which he was the former chair of, Peder Norby, Mike Howse and city officials, uncovered an obscure article with a black and white photo of a forgotten Carlsbad sign.
It had welcomed visitors to the city in the ‘30s but had long since been forgotten.
Its discovery helped the sign project move forward because now Lund and his team could focus on replicating the former sign and avoid controversy, which he said, is inevitable with designing public art.
“Thank god with this go around it was something we could use as a replica and then improve on it with current technology and strength,” Lund said.
Another benefit of waiting this long for the sign is the innovation in lighting technology. He said the LED lights are a lot cheaper now than they were 14 years ago.
A past design featured a dolphin by famed artist Robert Wyland and was vetoed by the Public Arts Commission.
The dolphin was dubbed Darlene, after Wyland’s mother, Lund said. He hopes to incorporate it in a charity meter he’s calling “An Hour of Power,” which will be a box placed near the sign.
The sign costs about a quarter an hour to light the sign, according to Lund. He hopes people will donate enough to cover the cost of lighting and that it will create a sense of ownership among the people in Carlsbad.
“I don’t want the city to ever pay a dime for this. That’s everyone’s sign,” Lund said.
It’s being manufactured at Federal Heath Sign Company and was funded by TaylorMade Golf Company, which is based in Carlsbad.
The sign cost about $225,000 to manufacture, according to Lund.
The sign’s colors are meant to mimic the beach, with dark blue, white and tan as the main colors.
It will be installed near the former sign’s location, on the corner of Carlsbad Boulevard and Carlsbad Village Drive.
Lund said the site was chosen because it is one of the most trafficked areas in the city and is near the pedestrian scramble, or x, which safely allows pedestrians to walk diagonally through the intersection.
He said that will allow people to take great photos of the sign.
“That sign will be photographed until Kingdom comes,” Lund said.
A lighting ceremony is set for Jan. 8 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Officials will block off parts of the street to traffic to allow for the influx of pedestrians.
Lund said he plans to start his “Hour of Power” campaign at the ceremony.