City of Vineland officials have confirmed final plans for the historic Vineland Municipal Electric Plant sign as demolition of the old Howard M. Down generating station proceeds. Despite rumors to the contrary, provisions have been made to save and refurbish the historic sign utilizing modern technology.
“Historic signs give continuity to public spaces, becoming part of the community memory,” said Mayor Anthony Fanucci. They sometimes become landmarks in themselves, almost without regard for the building to which they are attached, or the property on which they stand. Although it was initially thought the sign could not be safely removed during the demolition and refurbished, through persistence that turned out not to be the case. The plan that Director John Lillie has come up with will preserve the sign’s legacy using energy efficient lighting so that residents and visitors will be able to enjoy it for many years to come.”
“We consulted with a number of individuals with experience in neon sign restoration, the demolition contractors, and our engineers, and the recommendation the team made was that it could be done safely and within the parameters of the budget,” said Lillie, Vineland Municipal Utilities director.
“As the demolition continues, the sign will be disassembled and placed in storage prior to the restoration project,” Lillie said. “Once the project begins, the steel frame of the letters will be repaired and new state-of-the-art LED lighting will replace the neon components, while still maintaining the historic look of the sign. Though still in the design and engineering phase, the preliminary design suggests the base of the sign as a brick planter, possibly utilizing bricks from the plant demolition, and the main support structure will be steel construction. We have also preserved the Dedication Brass Plaque and the Construction Brass Plaque from the front of the building to be reinstalled on the tower base.”
Plans are to install the refurbished sign at the same elevation as the original sign. It will be located at the corner of West Avenue and Plum Street adjacent to the Down Unit 11 natural gas generating plant.