Tubac sign

A crew works on restoring the Tubac sign.

Tubac’s nearly 15-year-old sign at the village entrance was getting scruffy.

“As near as I could tell, the paint had simply worn away. It wasn’t peeling, but it was down to the cement,” said Lee Blackwell, an artist and designer who worked on the sign originally.

He and friends took matters into their own hands and the 22-foot-tall, two-sided sign was re-painted a light beige on Nov. 5 by professional painters using a bucket lift.

Blackwell, along with seasonal Tubac residents Tim and Cathy Duffin, sought donations and raised the $800 needed for the paint job, he said.

The sign was designed by Bruce Pheneger and built by Milton Burns. The large copper letters which spell out Tubac were created by Blackwell and by Garry Hembree, owner of Old Presidio Traders. Those two have done needed repairs over the years.

Two years ago Blackwell repainted the background of the lettering “Where Art and History Meet” below the “Tubac” letters since it had faded and the words couldn’t be seen.

Landscaping around the base of the sign and the flags was cleaned in October by 18 local volunteers in advance of the Javelina Project, which launched 50 artistically painted, molded javelinas into the community.

A future project will probably be replacement of the “hundreds” of aging LED lights “in strips in circuit boards” behind the copper lettering, which are failing, Blackwell said. The lights are on a photo cell and timer for night use.

The sign is owned by the Tubac Chamber of Commerce and stands on land owned by Santa Cruz County.

The chamber of commerce, which has a three-member board of directors, will discuss the sign at a future meeting, said executive director Andrea Ortega.

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