It was a changing of the guard of sorts last week as a Moapa Valley icon was retired and replaced by a new one.
A large informational sign located at the park-and-ride turnout near the Logandale/Overton interchange of I-15 was taken down on Thursday, Jan. 25. In its place, crews from the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) installed a shiny new sign which is entirely similar in its design.
The new sign still contains a map graphic meant to redirect interstate travellers toward the Moapa Valley community. The map also features important destinations like Lost City Museum, Valley of Fire State Park and Lake Mead Recreation Area – all while displaying the Northshore Road access back to Las Vegas.
The clean new sign mounted on steel poles was installed due to the efforts of County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick.
“What really started the ball rolling for me was when somebody painted grafitti on the old sign,” Kirkpatrick said. “That really frustrated me.”
Since a major roads project was already taking place in the area, Kirkpatrick contacted NDOT officials and asked that a new sign at the location be added on as part of the project. They eagerly agreed, she said.
The new sign is also in line with Kirkpatrick’s efforts to make downtown Overton more of a regional destination.
“We are doing all of this work to revitalize the downtown Overton area,” Kirkpatrick said. “We want to draw visitors in to check it out. There is a lot of traffic passing through on I-15, so we want them to know that there is a whole other area that is out there to visit.”
The old sign was first installed in the mid-1970s as a way of informing travellers of the services and features available just down the road from that point. It served its purpose for many years.
By 2009, though, the old sign had fallen into disrepair. It was pocked with bullet holes and was covered with grafitti.
In February of that year, a local business owner took the initiative to revitalize the sign. Ralph Spencer, then an owner of Inside Scoop restaurant, requested that NDOT take the sign down and deliver it to his workshop.
Spencer then took several days hammering the dents out, filling the holes, sanding it down and repainting it. NDOT crews then came back about a week later to return the newly repaired sign back to its spot.
So when Kirkpatrick asked NDOT officials to replace the sign, they were initially cautious.
“They said it wasn’t really their sign,” Kirkpatrick said. “So we had to do a little research on whose it was.”
For that, Kirkpatrick went to local resident Joe Davis. Davis knew exactly who to approach. Since Spencer had passed away in 2014, Davis spoke to his family.
Spencer’s daughter Tish Cook, who still owns and operates The Scoop, said that she was all too willing to have the old sign replaced. But she had one request.
“I just asked if there was any way that we could have the old sign back,” Cook said. “We felt like it should stay in the community here.”
Since her dad had put so much work and pride into the old sign, it held a good deal of nostalgia for the family, and even to the community, Cook said.
Kirkpatrick made that request to NDOT officials and they were happy to oblige. The sign was delivered to Cook on the same day as the switch took place.
Cook expressed appreciation to both Kirkpatrick and Davis for their help in bringing the old sign back home.
“The plan is to restore the sign again and get it back up at the Scoop where it belongs,” Cook said. “We’d rather see it stay in town than end up in a junkyard somewhere.”
Iconic M.V. sign replaced