The sign for the last couple of years has been in
storage at the Lincoln Landscape Waste Facility. The vacated Tropics
Restaurant was sold in early 2014, the sellers, the Goodrich family,
wanted the sign to be preserved and gifted it to the city of Lincoln
and the Logan County Tourism Bureau. The deal was that the city
would be responsible for the maintenance and care of the sign, but
it would belong to the tourism bureau, if it was properly restored
and placed on exhibit somewhere within the city. If that criteria
could not be met, the ownership of the sign would revert back to the
Soon after an agreement was established, Ace Sign Co in Springfield
was contracted by the city to remove the sign from its location on
Hickox Drive near the intersection of Woodlawn Road and Lincoln
Parkway. The city made arrangement for a trailer to move the sign,
and it was taken to the city street department facility where it
remained for a short time.
This week, as he waited for Ace to arrive at the landfill, City
Street Superintendent Walt Landers talked about the condition the
sign is currently in. Once the sign was taken to the city street
department, some of the skin had to be removed from the sign to
expose the interior and clean it.
When the sign was being taken down, many people watching noted the
number of pigeons flying out of the sign. Landers said that even
though many had left during that process, even when the sign was
parked at the street department, pigeons continued to exit the sign
and return. When the sign was examined, it was found to be almost
filled with pigeon nests and pigeon waste.
Landers showed pictures of the sign once the back side was removed,
and explained that in that condition, the sign posed a health
hazard. The sign was cleaned up, then brought to the landscape waste
facility. The largest portion of the sign that was still intact was
laid in an elevated position on the ground and completely covered
with tarps to protect it from the weather and standing water from
rain and snow.
On Tuesday, before the sign company arrived, Landers removed the
covering so that the sign company could move in and do their part.
When the company arrived with its boom truck, the crew set to work
right away to get the sign secured for lifting into the air and onto
the back of a trailer. It took a little more than an hour to get the
sign on the trailer and secured for transport. The other piece of
the sign that had been removed would also be loaded up and taken to
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A small group gathered to watch the process including Bob and
Tami Goodrich and Bill Thomas who are members of the restoration committee, Cris
Wibben and Morgan Gleason of the Logan County Tourism Bureau, Lincoln Alderman
Rick Hoefle, local media, and a staff member from Ace who was filming the event
using a drone.
The restoration project will take about six months, with
expectations that the sign could be finished by the end of the year. When the
sign returns to Lincoln, it will be placed near its original location, in the
parking lot of the new McDonald’s Restaurant being built in the old Tropics
The Tropics Legacy Campaign is the official fundraising group for the sign and
part of the restoration committee. On Tuesday, Thomas handed out information
regarding the legacy campaign. To date, the committee has “in hand”
approximately $47,000. There are still grant applications outstanding and the
committee is hopeful that those grants will be awarded later this summer or
In the meantime, the campaign is still gratefully accepting donations from the
community. Anyone wishing to support this project may do so by mailing a check
to the Tropics Legacy Campaign in care of the Logan County Tourism Bureau, at
1555 Fifth Street, Lincoln, IL 62656. Checks should be made out to the Tropics
Donations may also be made online to the campaign’s Go-Fund-Me account –
There will also be a fundraiser held at the new McDonalds on August 24th to
benefit the sign. On that day a percentage of the receipts for the day will be
donated directly to the campaign.
Thomas also offered up a timeline to completion of the project. The sign should
be finished by the end of the year. It is expected that the sign will be
installed sometime in the first quarter of 2018. No exact date can be set at
this time due to unknown weather conditions. Soon after the sign is official
installed, the committee will hold a “Grand Re-lighting Ceremony.” At that time
the sign will be official unveiled to the public and lit for all to see.
In all, the committee has a budget at around $70,000 for the restoration of the
sign; installing of the sign’ design, production and installation of the
interpretive panel that will tell the story of the sign, and recognize donors;
and the final landscaping around the sign.