Wind brings down sign, city puts it right back up

Windy conditions Thursday added some work to the City of Warren Department of Public Works.

Most of the “Warren Wishes You Merry Christmas Happy New Year” sign along the back of the Allegheny River in front of Warren General Hospital was knocked over Thursday evening.

Only the “W” in Warren and “Wishes You” remained upright.

Most of the sign remained lit, but some letters were dark.

Timeanddate.com shows a high wind speed for the day of 22 miles per hour shortly before 7 p.m. Thursday, although the damage was done before 6 p.m.

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry The Warren Wishes You sign was knocked down, but not out, Thursday night. Gusty winds knocked down most of the sign Thursday evening. City crews stood it back up, reinforced it, and reset the breakers that had been knocked out, early Friday.

DPW personnel were out Friday morning setting the seasonal landmark straight.

“It’s back up now,” DPW Director Mike Holtz said. “We went over there and reanchored it. We put some more braces in.”

“It seems like every year, we have a little tinkering to make sure it works,” Holtz said.

The crew also reset some breakers. The ground fault interrupter (GFI) was the cause of the outage of some of the 1,200 bulbs in the sign.

The crew did not have as much help as it did for the initial set-up.

“The high school’s wrestling team has come over to help the City DPW to initially set up the sign,” Holtz said.

The sign is 10 to 12 years old, Holtz said. “The difference between the old sign and the new sign is weight. It takes a little more to make sure it stands up.”

But, the letters in the new sign is also much easier to move around.

Former councilman Jim Zavinski organized the effort that paid for the current sign.

It may not last much longer, but the city is not considering doing away with the sign.

“We are going to be looking to replace that sign in the next few years,” Holtz said. “This is certainly a Warren tradition. This is one of the longest, most traditional things for Warren Christmas.”

“I’m pretty sure there will be some form of a sign down there for many years to come,” he said. “Everybody loves it.”


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