If all goes as planned, downtown Casa Grande will one day be bathed in a neon glow, bringing an electric vibe to energize tourism. The town won a $144,000 grant to build a Vintage Neon Sign Park in its historic district. The park is the first step toward a grander vision: turning Casa Grande into a mid-century modern mecca, with the restored signs leading the way. Casa Grande finished second in online voting and was one of 11 sites to take a share of the $1.5 million grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express. Voting in the annual competition ended Tuesday, Oct. 31.
The $144,000 will fund the first phase of the neon park, according to Rina Rien, director of Casa Grande Main Street, the non-profit behind the project. The park, due to open in late 2018 with five signs, could be the start of neon resurgence that lights up interest in other businesses, Rien said. “There are big hopes for the park. The community is extremely excited,” she said. “A project like this is a great catalyst that could lead to bigger things.”