Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The warmth in Hillcrest that is no more

If you live in San Diego chances are you have seen one of the great historical signs "welcoming" you to certain neighborhoods; University Heights, Normal Heights, Kensington, The Boulevard (El Cajon Blvd) and of course Hillcrest.

Recently the Hillcrest sign was replaced except the nice warm pink neon was replaced with white LED lights. My first thought was, wow it's so cold looking, too bright, not welcoming like the pink neon. I wondered who decided on that? I'm a pretty connected person in this community, and I cant recall seeing any public notice for input on the sign or the announcement changes were going to happen, people asking us to join a committee or anything like that. So here's what the sign looks like now.

Our City Councilman Todd Gloria posted a photo on Facebook of the Normal Heights sign getting a touch up for the Adams Avenue Street Fair this weekend, well that (maybe I) started a conversation about the Hillcrest sign and peoples dislike for the way it now looks and how the refurbishment was handled.

First of all here is a link to some history of the Hillcrest sign HERE

Dan Soderberg, of the Save Our Heritage Organisation stated "The fact the Hillcrest sign didn't go before HRB was a big mistake. I understand about the installation date of 1985. But the fact that it was a historic reproduction of the original. Therefore that creates a historic continuum that should have been respected. I have a huge problem when decisions are made without following due process of public input and review by all concerned parties when it involves a potentially historic resource. I'm not sure where the ball was dropped. Maybe City staff of the HRB signed off on this project, I don't know. But if they did, that's wrong. The Board and Design assistance should have weighed in. Secretary of the Interior Standards should have been adhered to."

Members of the Save Our Heritage Organisation
will be attending The Historic Resources Board meeting this Thursday August 25th at 1pm, City Hall, 12th floor in the City Council committee room. To ask questions whether or not the sign refurbishment went through proper procedures.

So I already know 90% of the comments I am going to get on this post are going to argue that LED lights are more energy efficient, "green", etc etc. I realize that, Ive done plenty of research on the subject in the last 2 days. I see arguments for both, and since LED lighting is still relatively new compared to neon, I think the jury is still out on its long term effectiveness. Something I read on a sign company website summed up my feelings about neon vs LED "Lastly, its all about preference. In our opinion, neon is more vibrant, warm, inviting and attractive. Its more like art than just a sign. LED signs tend to be more industrial and straight forward. This may sound corny but Neon seems to be more "romantic" and "elegant" and LED's are more "medical" and "cold" if that makes any sense."

San Diego Historic Neon is a great Facebook page to see some of the wonderful neon in San Diego both past and present.

and as always this is just my humble opinion.
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