A controversial 50-year-old neon sign along the Seward Highway can stay there for at least two more years, according to the office of Sen. Mark Begich.
The sign for Diamond Jim's Bar and Mary Lou's Liquor Store, considered historic by the Municipality of Anchorage Historic Preservation Commission, is located in the highway right-of-way. To meet federal highway requirements, the Alaska Department of Transportation requested the owner, Mary Lou Redmond, move the sign. She refused. The sign was not in the right of way when the bar was moved to its current location from it's original home in Portage after the 1964 earthquake, she said.
Redmond currently operates a liquor store and gift shop in an old log cabin near the sign in the community of Indian. The bar is closed.
The senator's office contacted the Federal Highway Administration and worked out a two-year extension of deadline, giving state officials more time to come to a resolution with Redmond, according to Schawna Thoma, a Begich aide.
The senator called Redmond on Monday to give her the news. She said she was grateful.
"I think it's pretty good, don't you think?" she said Tuesday. "I'm old anyway. Who knows what's gonna happen in two years?"