PARADISE – One of the most indelible memories of November 8, 2018 were the photos of the Camp Fire, Welcome to Paradise sign that burned down on the skyway that morning.
It was the moment, captured by YouTube videos and photographs, that inspired former Paradise resident Brett Matteos to rebuild the structure.
“I couldn’t go to sleep that night,” he said. “Every time I returned, that sign welcomed me back home.”
Matties used to visit his parents every Thanksgiving and knew they were back in that corner of the skyway when they came to town.
In 2019, Matisse and the Paradise Welcome Sign Rebuild Committee volunteers including, Monica Nolan, executive director of the Paradise Ridge Chamber of Commerce; Owner, Builder and Realtor Chenoa Rivera; Scott Steele, owner of Reliance Propane; Kyle Nelson, CEO of Results Imagery; Joe Hoop, director of Hoop Signs and property owner; Rebuild Paradise Foundation executive director Charles Brooks and Matisse.
He also said that real estate agent and former city councilor Mike Zuccillo also played a role in the project.
They began discussing reconstruction and, initially, Matisse thought he would rebuild the old sign. But there was also some discussion about rebuilding the sign in view of the fire concerns.
From there he said it became clear that he should include public input because the sign is the resident’s sign that was put up on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Brian Firth Landscape Architect, Inc. was created from Chico, and Mattis said it received the majority of the public’s vote by a margin of 17 percent.
In early 2020, Mattis said he chose the sign but the process was about 20 months from there to the construction of the sign, which was built with over 11,000 pounds of corten steel that also has the original halo and will be on display soon A paradise slogan that would consist of reclaimed wood from the fire.
The entire signing should be completed by mid-January.
The sign was erected by Hoop Signs from Chico’s and Martin’s Cranes from Auroville. Matties noted that Paradise was able to get the Rotary Club to take ownership of the steel sign.