FAIRFIELD — A Fairfield landmark of sorts is gone.
The 62-foot-tall red, Welcome to Fairfield sign topped by Mr. Jelly Belly along Interstate 80 in the Fairfield Auto Mall got torn down midmonth. It drew the attention of freeway motorists for almost a decade.
But it didn’t make money for the Fairfield Conference & Visitors Bureau, the owner of the sign. The more that’s on a sign beside the LED advertisement display board, the less revenue that gets generated through advertising sales, bureau President Anand Patel said. That’s because the sign has elements that compete for attention.
The Welcome to Fairfield sign had plenty of items to potentially draw viewers’ attention away from the LED ads. Most striking was the 8-foot-tall figure of the smiling Mr. Jelly Belly.
CBS Outdoors plans to put a new freeway sign up at the same location. This sign will mention the auto mall, but will be dominated by the LED advertising screen. It will not be a Jelly Belly sign.
Meanwhile, Jelly Belly plans to put up a sign along Highway 12 at its Fairfield plant. This sign is to be 70 feet tall and to be topped by a 30-foot-tall flagpole.
The Planning Commission on March 12 approved the sign. The Fairfield City Council on May 6 approved creating a Highway 12 tourism sign district that will permit the Jelly Belly sign.
At an April 15 City Council hearing, three residents from nearby neighborhoods criticized what one called “a monster sign” that could soon be erected across the highway from their houses. Council members listened to their remarks, but offered no comments.
“I think we listened very carefully to their concerns,” Mayor Harry Price said Friday. “I think they realized too that from an economic development point of view, the sign is certainly necessary.”
Patel said the now-gone Welcome to Fairfield sign got handed over to Jelly Belly to use parts for its new sign.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.