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A Colorado Springs Parks worker carries a ladder back to the truck Jan. 8 as his crew finishes installing the new version of the Old Colorado City sign just north of 26th Street on Highway 24.
Westside Pioneer photo

New look for traditional Old Colorado City sign at Highway 24 and 26th Street

Jan. 13, 2018
       There's a new look for the sign on Highway 24 at 26th Street that for 40-some years has enticed travelers to visit Old Colorado City.
       It still promotes the historic shopping district three blocks north of the highway exit, but the wording now matches the “Shop. Dine. Discover” slogan/logo of the Old
This was the second version of the sign on Highway 24 at 26th Street, as of 2012.
Westside Pioneer photo
Colorado City Associates (OCCA) business group.
       In smaller type are the words: “Historic OCC, the place to be,” and an arrow points toward northbound 26th Street.
       As before, the sign is 6 feet high by 16 feet wide, faces both directions, is attached to a large wood structure just north of 26th and is lit by ground-placed lamps at night,
       The installation occurred Jan. 8. The design was developed by the Old Colorado City Special Improvement Maintenance District (SIMD), with inputs from the OCCA.
       Funded by a property tax on OCC property owners and aided by Colorado Springs Parks staff, the SIMD oversees public improvements in what was - until a century ago - the Colorado City downtown.
       District boundaries encompass that historically themed commercial zone, between 24th and 27th streets, but also include 26th Street down to the highway.
       Most of the sign's $1,527 cost was covered by the SIMD, with construction, installation and other support coming out of the city's general fund, according to Eric Becker of City Parks.
       Attached to plywood, the sign consists of “high-performance vinyl” facing with an “anti-grafitti laminate” and aluminum backing, Becker said.
       It's the third version of a continuing signage tradition at that highway spot going back to the late 1970s. Retired OCC Westside civic leader Dave Hughes told the
This was the first version of the sign on Highway 24 at 26th Street, as photographed before Jeff Cahill redesigned it in 1986.
Courtesy of Jeff Cahill
story in a 2012 Westside Pioneer interview, saying it was part of his revitalization efforts at that time with the Old Colorado City business community. They basically just put a sign up, then dealt with state transportation officials who wanted explanations. “We didn't know the right of way rules,” Hughes recalled in 2012. “But we got our legislators to go to the state and fight them.”
       Consisting of cut-out block letters over plywood sheathing, that original sign (see photo on this page) was replaced with a color version in 1986. It was designed by area sign-maker Jeff Cahill, who removed the cut-outs, painted a new design onto sections of aluminum and attached it to the sheathing, he has previously elaborated in the Pioneer. The district added sawed-off poles at the south end of the structure to balance the appearance.
       Cahil maintained the sign for the district over the years with his last facelift in 2012 after one of the aluminum plates came loose and a large dent appeared - possibly from a truck tire that flew loose.
       But by 2017, even that repair was losing its luster. SIMD Coordinator Jon Carlson told the SIMD committee at a meeting last year, “There's been grafitti and wind damage, it's got a hole in it, and it's getting beaten up.”
       The members then agreed to his proposal for the new vinyl-faced sign.

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