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Local & Regional

Tulsa Commission Wants to Bring Neon Back to Route 66

Route-66-Neon-Sign.jpg

Tulsa’s iconic Meadow Gold neon sign on Route 66 was restored to its former glory almost nine months ago, and three long-gone signs west of the Arkansas River will soon make a comeback.

Those are just the start.

"The next big neon project on Route 66 is to try to reach out to all of the property owners and start getting some of the smaller neon signs restored — and maybe getting some more new neon — and really creating, you know, a whole corridor of fantastic signage," said Tulsa Route 66 Commission member Amanda DeCort.

Neon fell out of favor in Tulsa as city ordinances changed.

"A lot of those old-school signs would project above the cornice or would be in the public right-of-way, because, if you think about it, a lot of them are on poles right out by the sidewalk and, you know, some of them are rooftop," DeCort said. "And a lot of those things have been prohibited over the years."

Members of the Route 66 commission have met with planning officials about removing the barriers to business owners installing neon signs.

Once that’s resolved, there’s a historical record to work from.

"Tulsa Foundation for Architecture did a neon sign survey some years ago and took a look at all of the neon signs — or, even if the neon is long-gone, all of the historic signs that once had neon that are still left in Tulsa," DeCort said. "So, we're going to update that."

DeCort is executive director of TFA.

The Tulsa Route 66 Commission is also considering a grant or loan program for businesses interested in restoring or installing neon signs.