The iconic 1st sign is glowing again in downtown St. Paul

St. Paul is No. 1 again.
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The giant "1st" sign in downtown St. Paul is glowing again.

The 50-foot sign, which has sat atop the historic First National Bank Building for decades, can be seen for 20 miles on a clear day. But during a storm last winter, it went dark.

It was relit on Tuesday, following an environmentally friendly upgrade.

"The '1st' sign has been welcoming people to downtown St. Paul for nearly 100 years, and has come to embody this town," St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said in a news release. "Now, it will represent St. Paul both in its history, as well as its sustainable future."

The sign's neon tubes were replaced with 4,000 feet of flexible LED tubing, so now the sign will consume less energy – and it'll be able to change colors, the release says. This was part of $12 million in energy efficiency upgrades by Madison Equities, which owns the First National Bank Building.

Scott Goltz, vice president at Madison Equities, said in the release that LEDs need "almost no maintenance" and cost about 30 percent less to run.

The relighting of the sign was celebrated in St. Paul Tuesday night. People shared photos of the glowing sign on Twitter using the hashtag #1stLighting.

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