BY FRANK RICHARDSON
For the record – the highest roof on CityWalk is 17 stories above the ground.
One of the “biggest” things about the building are the two 511 signs at the top. One is 14 feet tall, the other is 8 feet tall. I have heard that when they were lit, they could be seen for miles. Being a historic building, it has become a given that we will restore these signs to their original splendor and operation.
Today, two workers from Chandler Signs had the pleasure of examining these numerals close-up.
They had to remove the existing glass neon tubing so that exact replicas could be made for re-installation in a few weeks. At that time, all of the 50 year-old internal wiring and transformers will be replaced as well, and the faces will be repainted. This will all be done while the 511 signs remain on the building.
Now, being 17 stories above ground, it means that the only way to get to them is from the roof. This requires that they tie-off to something (hopefully) substantial and secure on the roof and lower themselves over the edge.
It is all in a day’s work for them (they’ve done this on taller buildings), but it scared the heck out of me just watching it. Ronnie, the one going over the edge, said the important thing is not to think about it, just do it. That’s easy for him to say!
Gladly, it was completed in several hours without incident. In a few weeks, our 511 signs will shine brightly once again!
Oh, and by the way, we learned that the original neon was turquoise (how 1950’s).