Warren’s Christmas sign goes up

Volunteers helped assemble the “Warren Wishes You Merry Christmas Happy New Year” sign Friday at Crescent Park.

“This is the last major holiday project of the season,” Warren City Council member Jim Zavinski said. “The weather’s making it a little meaner to put some decorations up.”

Temperatures were in the mid-20s Friday morning when about 10 volunteers began to assemble the sign at 8 a.m.

Zavinski said they had originally planned to put the sign up and then take care of the approximately 1,200 light bulbs used to illuminate the sign that stretches along the southern bank of the Allegheny River in downtown Warren.

But with all the snow the bulbs had to go in Friday, or the sockets could freeze.

The old wooden and red electric sign built by the Warren Jaycees in the late 1940s was replaced two years ago with a new electric sign. The previous sign had fallen into disrepair over the years.

2010 was one of the few times the Christmas sign had not been put up.

Then Zavinski, fellow council member Howard Ferguson, James Zavinski Jr., Nancy Siggins and Ronda Narlie formed an ad hoc committee to solicit funds and replace the old sign, which Ferguson said was in such disrepair, “basically having a sign wasn’t going to happen anymore.”

Zavinski worked with Sturdevant Sign Co. to design the new sign, which can be installed easily and by fewer people. Each of the letters is eight feet tall and made of aluminum with all new wiring and sockets.