Coddingtown Mall's storied sign, which was the subject of controversy after it was erected in the 1960s but later became a beloved icon, is coming down for repairs.
But fret not: the sign will be back up in about 30 days, said Kirstie Moore, property and development manager at Codding Enterprises.
"This is the first time it's been taken down," Moore said. "It's been up there facing the elements for over 50 years. It's about time it had a makeover."
The rotating motor burned out several months ago, so Codding decided it was time to completely repair the sign, Moore said. Crews began work Wednesday morning on the sign, which reads "Codding" on one side and "Town" on the other in block letters that are as large as the construction workers that eased it down.
Many of the parts were rusted out, so workers will strip the sign to its frame and install new aluminum sheeting. New LED lights will replace the old bulbs, and it will be "shinier and cleaner," Moore said.
"It's going to look pretty much the same," she said.
The office has been fielding phone calls since the sign stopped turning, so Moore expects to field more calls from concerned sign-lovers.
Initially, Hugh Codding's company had proposed a 150-foot sign with a lighted globe on top bearing the letter "C," but a more modest scaled-down version was eventually approved by the city.
Then the sign's ability to turn became an issue when Santa Rosa, which banned revolving signs in 1971, ordered the mall to stop the sign from its circular course.
The motor was turned off by the city in 1981, but the sign mysteriously began to revolve again several years later. At the time, Santa Rosa residents pleaded for landmark status for the sign.
"We constantly have people calling and asking about it," Moore said. "So when they actually see the sign coming down, I'm sure they will get concerned."
This time, Codding Enterprises has been granted a building permit to repair the rotating Coddingtown Mall sign, replace the sign motor and repair and fix any rusted skin, said Bill Rose, senior planner for Santa Rosa, in an email.
The work on the 70-foot sign will be done by SignALL Systems of Santa Rosa, Moore said.
"We're really excited about it," Moore said. "The sign is so close to our hearts here at Codding, it's going to be nice to see it up and running again."
You can reach Staff Writer Cathy Bussewitz at 521-5276 or firstname.lastname@example.org.