ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque residents are noticing that a ‘Welcome to Albuquerque’ sign on the southwest side is becoming not so welcoming. The sign is meant to greet drivers rolling into city limits, but now residents complain that during the day weeds sprouting up around it have made it an eyesore and that at night you can’t even see it.

“I would like for the city to come and take care of the weeds to begin with…that way people could really enjoy the beautiful sign that they put up there. I mean, it’s taxpayer’s money so might as well clean it up, you know?” says Mitalia Feliciano, resident of Albuquerque.

Those ‘welcome’ signs were put up in November. It is one of five signs, complete with solar panels so they would light up at night. They were put up on major thoroughfares into the city and had a price tag of $400,000. But now, the weeds are sprouting up around the one at the intersection of Coors and Bridge.

Residents say they’re disappointed this one isn’t lighting up at night like the others.

“We were very disappointed because the city did spend a lot of money—taxpayer’s money—so they did do a good thing by putting it there. But they also put the solar panel. The solar panel came in last. They first put the sign and then they came back and put the solar panel. Once they put the solar panel we were like OK it’s gonna light up. But it never lit up,” Feliciano says.

One person noticed the solar panel at this sign is missing and is frustrated the weeds have been left to grow out of control. Residents initially questioned these signs when they were first put in, asking if they were a good use of taxpayer money.

The city of Albuquerque sent KRQE News 13 this statement about the sign:

The City was not aware of the missing solar panel before this inquiry. We appreciate the feedback and are now working to get the solar panel replaced. Since we can’t be everywhere at once, we rely on the people of Albuquerque to help us out – if anyone observes vandalism like this in progress, we encourage them to call 242-COPS. Same with weeds, if anyone sees excessive weeds or trash in our medians, we encourage them to report it 311 and the City will get it addressed as quickly as possible.

Scott Cilke, City of Albuquerque