Casa Grande, Arizona turning into a mid-century modern mecca

Casa Grande, Arizona turning into a mid-century modern mecca

Casa Grande is a town in Arizona located halfway between Phoenix and Tucson.

The city wants to become the next travel and tourism alternative in Arizona and a “must see attraction”. It has historic charm and modern amenities. Casa Grande offers a broad range of facilities and activities.

  • An 18-hole Dave White Municipal Golf Course
  • The Palm Island Family Aquatic Center featuring a 150′ water slide, several pools, and an Aqua Climb Wall
  • Senior citizen programming and resources provided at the Dorothy Powell Senior Center
  • 19 city maintained parks and 17 miles of mountain hiking and biking trails
  • Popular annual special events such as the Easter Egg Hunt, Halloween Family Fright Night, and the Electric Light Parade
  • A variety of museums, movie, and live theatres
  • A thriving Historic Downtown that boasts an array of locally owned businesses, restaurants, and community events

If all goes as planned, downtown Casa Grande will one day be bathed in a neon glow, bringing an electric vibe to energize tourism.

The town won a $144,000 grant to build a Vintage Neon Sign Park in its historic district. The park is the first step toward a grander vision: turning Casa Grande into a mid-century modern mecca, with the restored signs leading the way.

Casa Grande finished second in online voting and was one of 11 sites to take a share of the $1.5 million grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express. Voting in the annual competition ended Tuesday, Oct. 31.

The $144,000 will fund the first phase of the neon park.

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The park, due to open in late 2018 with five signs, could be the start of neon resurgence that lights up interest in other businesses, Rien said.

A project like this is a great catalyst that could lead to bigger things.

The Vintage Neon Sign Park will open with five restored signs, including one that stood for decades outside Casa Grande’s Horseshoe Motel. Visitors also will see a neon Dairy Queen sign from Holbrook, donated when the owner heard about the project, Rien said.

Other National Trust grant winners included Los Angeles ($150,000 to renovate the Formosa Cafe on Route 66) and Germantown, Pa., ($150,000 to preserve significant African-American historic sites).

Rien said conceptual work on the neon park begins in early 2018, followed by sign restoration and the installation of park infrastructure and landscaping.

If the signs spark increased tourism, officials will look at expanding the restoration of the town’s 30-plus vintage signs.

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