For motorists who can't pick out the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza from the Ventura Freeway, its location should soon be unmistakable.
Workers are slowly spelling out two identifying signs that by month's end will grace the plaza's eastern and western walls.
The signs, which cost the city $67,707, will identify the city and the Civic Arts Plaza and will light up at night. Each sign will be 60 feet long, although the one that hangs directly above the so-called Copper Curtain is taller than the other. Installation of that sign is expected to be completed Friday. Workers have not begun installing the smaller version, which will hang on the plaza's western side.
Signature Signs Inc. was hired by the city last fall to design and construct the signs.
"I think it offers some name recognition," said Chet Haptonstall, company president. "It's a highly visible building, and a lot of people aren't even aware that it's our city's government office. It's going to enhance the name recognition for Thousand Oaks and make the building look nicer."
When the signs are complete, they will stand out attractively in the dark, said Tom Mitze, director of the city's Theaters Department.
"It's back-lit, so it should glow and hopefully be in very good taste and everyone will like it," he said.
That's something that cannot be said of the Copper Curtain, which the city plans to redesign. The curtain, a $250,000 artwork that hangs on the east side of the plaza overlooking the freeway, was originally designed as strips of copper that would sway in the wind and spread sunlight. But, fearing that the design would create a distraction or hazard for motorists, officials affixed the curtain's strips to the wall.
Some curtain critics say the new signs will do nothing to enhance the troubled artwork.
"I don't think it's going to improve the curtain," resident Esther Jeffers, 68, said. "The curtain is still there. It still looks like a big, rusty screen of some sort hanging."
Mitze, however, said the signs will spruce up the Civic Arts Plaza in general. "We've been here for five years, and we're the biggest unknown building on the freeway, so I think it's wonderful," he said.