TUCUMCARI, N.M. (KRQE) – Businesses in Tucumcari are working to repair historic neon signs that were damaged in a May hail storm. The “golf ball-sized” hail hit the city and impacted signs along Route 66, causing over $1,000,000 in damage.
The New Mexico Route 66 Association identified over 60 pieces of broken neon tubing among the broken signs. As the signs are a major tourism draw for Tucumcari, residents and business owners are pushing to get the hail damage repaired.
“I am afraid that if Tucumcari’s neon signs are not repaired, we will see a slow demise of Route 66 tourism in Tucumcari. A lot of businesses will suffer,” said Rob Federico, the owner of the Blue Swallow Motel.
According to Johnnie Meier, a preservation officer from the Route 66 Association, the closest companies that can fix the signs are in Amarillo, Texas. “Given this circumstance, the Association has committed our organization to assisting the small business owners to repair their signs with a cost-effective solution,” said Meier.
The Association is working with Executive Director of Tucumcari MainStreet Connie Loveland to complete the neon sign restoration project. Many of the repair services will be provided for free or with a 50% cost match from the sign owners.
The restoration project is expected to cost roughly $10,000, and sign owners who want to participate in the project will be met with the week of July 31. A GoFundMe page has been established to help cover the cost of the hail damage; to donate, click here.