MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The time is almost over for the biggest 'Memphis' sign in Memphis because it's blocking the view of the new kid on the block.
There standing next to Interstate-40 for the world to see, "MEMPHIS" - the "I" spelled with a guitar. The sign was the brain child of former Shelby County Mayor Jim Rout, erected in 1999 at a cost of $160,000.
"Come across and see that big Memphis with that guitar, it just sort of says there's Memphis. There's blues, there's rock n' roll, there's the river," Rout told abc24.com.
But now the sign stands in the way of what will be the main entrance to the giant new Bass Pro store being built in the Pyramid.
The city has budgeted $10 million to buy the land and relocate the cement company where the signs are now. But the dirty little secret in all of this is, many people downtown are not unhappy to see it go, especially those who have to maintain it.
Kevin Kane, head of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, hears the complaints every time a light is out.
"It's been a nightmare," he said. "This sign is very hard to maintain. A letter goes out, we send a crew up there to fix it, before they get even down the stairwell, a bird hits a letter, it goes out again."
So with change comes opportunity. Kane wants to see a new Memphis sign on the west wall of the Cook Convention Center.
"I see obviously with LED and with the technology we have today, you could do a sign that has multiple images, lots of things. I mean the world has changed dramatically since 1999."
It's not clear when the sign will come down, but it will probably be well before the city's August 2013 deadline with Bass Pro.
The original sign was paid for with a combination of government money and private donations. It was basically a handshake deal among all the players put together by Mayor Rout.
Getting a new sign on the side of the convention center is not likely to be that simple.