A colorful new sign now stands out along the waterfront for all the La Paz residents and tourists to behold and take pictures next to. And for in case they have forgotten where they are.
It is impressive looking, with large, six feet tall, painted metal letters that span the length of about 30 feet. The letters are mounted on a cement slab close to the edge of the water and are illuminated in the evening. The sign looks great and seems to be quite popular with pedestrians and tourists. Many of Mexico´s tourist towns have installed prominent city signs that are used to promote tourism and as a backdrop for family photos or selfies, and La Paz is the latest city to adopt the concept. The new sign is very attractive with its bright, festive colors. It is just south of the main kiosk on the malecón.
The bad news is that the metal panels used in the construction are thin, weak, and seem to be made of aluminum. (You’re familiar with tin foil? That’s aluminum). Within a few days of installation, and shortly after the big hoopla inauguration by city officials, the P was the first to take a hit. A herd, (flock? Covey?) of young people climbed up it and then tried to sit on or walk across the letters. It looked as if someone had pushed against a sheet of aluminum foil. (We told you so).
It was quickly repaired, but how long it will stay that way is anyone´s guess. I would say the chances of the current structure going undamaged in the near future are slim, so it will probably have to be reinforced with a thicker sheet of rust–proof metal, or another material at some point, if it is going to survive beyond a few months.
Just one night before it was damaged, there was a palpable excitement in the air. People were huddling around, happily snapping pictures, leaning against it, or sitting on the lower part of the letter L, a flimsy part of the structure that doesn´t look like it could support much weight either, and will likely have to be reworked in the near future. The L will probably suffer the same fate as the P in the very near future.
Installing the sign was a good idea, but the materials used in its construction obviously do not meet the standard stress test and, and why did it have to be such a cheap-0 job? A sign could be erected next to the structure that warns people not to climb on top of the letters, but that would take away much of the beauty of the sign, would be disregarded, and the way our city fathers spend, might very well fall down before the original sign is destroyed.
The cost of the project was about $7,000, but the cost of current and future repairs and reinforcements, (if they´re even made), will certainly add to the final bill. The project is funded through hotel taxes collected. The guy who actually constructed the frame and the letters claimed to have only received $300 for his work. The remaining costs went for lighting, the cement base, materials, painting, and finishes, and who knows what else. Or where else.