A Welcoming Display: Carlsbad sign may arc over Village main street next year

A Welcoming Display: Carlsbad sign may arc over Village main street next year
The rendering shows the initial design of a Carlsbad sign placed over Carlsbad Boulevard, next to Carlsbad Village Drive. Courtesy image

CARLSBAD — For 13 years, Carlton Lund has faced set back after set back against his dream of installing a large Carlsbad sign, similar to that in Encinitas, in the heart of the city’s downtown.

In 2001, the project was denied because archways were not permitted downtown. Eventually when that hurdle was remedied, funds for the $225,000 sign were hard to come by.

But Lund, the chairman of Carlsbad’s Chamber of Commerce, believed in the sign.

“When people come to town and actually see what (the city) is, it’s incredible. There’s no bigger marketing thing you can do,” he said.

Rather than giving up after all of these years, he seized the opportunity on the Chamber of Commerce’s 90th anniversary this year to make his dream a reality. Because of his efforts, the project at last appears to have gained promising steam, and Lund’s hope that the sign will be in place by summer 2014 may become a reality.

From the get-go, Lund envisioned a grand sign displaying the city’s name hanging above Carlsbad Boulevard a stone’s throw away from Carlsbad Village Drive. He said wanted a simple, historic-looking sign that also incorporated an ocean theme.

The 20-foot-tall sign is modeled after the downtown Encinitas sign and will be topped with a sculpture of a dolphin created by famous marine life artist Wyland, a friend of Lund’s. The project also incorporates two “kindness meters”, aka two parking meters where people can make voluntary donations for the Carlsbad Charitable Foundation.

In total the sign is projected to cost $225,000, consisting of $175,000 for the design, construction, and installation of the sign and $50,000 for the raw material needed for the sculpture. Wyland has agreed to donate his time creating the piece for free, according to Lund.

Lund aspires to build and install the sign at zero cost to the city.

After several slow years of fundraising, he was able to convince Carlsbad’s TaylorMade Golf to sponsor the project and pay for the bulk of the costs.

Then a few weeks ago, the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors approved the sign as an official chamber initiative.

“It’s like it’s meant to be. All of the stars are aligning,” Lund said.

The city has confirmed that it has received a proposed Carlsbad sign donation from the Chamber of Commerce. The city’s Arts Commission will review the proposal next and the project will have to go through a general city approval process culminating with a City Council vote.

Lund is hopeful that he will gain city approval in time to install the sign by Flag Day June 14, 2014.

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