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Iconic Las Vegas sign showing signs of wear and tear

If a picture is worth a thousand words, the nation’s libraries would be hard-pressed to find space for the words of all the millions of photos snapped at the iconic Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign.

Just marrieds. Snap.

Sorority sisters. Snap

Visiting dignitaries. Snap.

Retirees on a rendezvous. Snap.

The diamond-shaped sign at the south end of Las Vegas Boulevard is a popular photo op, to say the least.

But at a recent event, posing for a photo, Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak noticed the sign’s fabulousness fading. There was a crack and chipped paint. So at Tuesday’s Clark County Commission meeting he decided to have a chat with his colleagues about the sign’s upkeep.

“As important as this sign is, I think it’s incumbent upon us to do our due diligence and take care of it,” Sisolak said. “We have millions of pictures taken at this sign each year.”

Why the County Commission is concerned and not the Las Vegas City Council stems from a little-known jurisdictional fact.

Although people like to say the camera doesn’t lie, the sign in all those photos isn’t exactly telling the truth. Posing tourists aren’t technically standing in Las Vegas. A more accurate sign might welcome them to unincorporated Clark County.

The county leases the sign from the Young Electric Sign Co. Sisolak’s concerns were quickly addressed by a representative from the company, who said the sign would be touched up soon without much disruption by having work done in off-hours.

The sign was designed by Betty Willis in 1959. It’s status increased in 2009 when it landed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“The sign has been not only an important symbol for our community, but a magnet for untold thousands who have had their pictures taken in front of it,” then-County Commissioner Rory Reid said at the time of the designation.

Contact Bethany Barnes at bbarnes@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3861. Find her on Twitter: @betsbarnes

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