No fun is allowed in Omaha.
Or rather, no Old Market sign that says “THIS IS FUN.”
Mark TeVogt removed the large sign from the front of his business, Iron Decor and More, on Friday after he received an order from the city sign inspector.
Iron Decor and More, 1120 Jackson St., sells hand-crafted Mexican pottery and iron decor products.
Tourists in the Old Market frequently stop to have their pictures taken beside a tall metal rooster out front. That gave TeVogt the idea to add something else for the visitors.
“I thought it would be cool to have something on the side of the building that was positive, friendly and attractive,” he said.
So he settled on large red metal letters that spelled out “THIS IS FUN.” The sign went up in November, and TeVogt planned to display it until it sold.
But the city decided the sign wasn't so much fun after all.
The Planning Department received a complaint and investigated. Turns out, TeVogt had failed to secure a permit for the sign, and that is a violation of the city code.
TeVogt acknowledged he was first told by the city to remove the sign shortly after he put it up. When the sign stayed, the city sent TeVogt a letter.
“You will have five days from the receipt of this letter to remove the 'THIS IS FUN' sign,” Michael J. Grothe, city sign inspector, wrote in the Jan. 16 letter.
Grothe said besides having no permit, the sign did not comply with the property's current zoning designation.
So the sign now sits in TeVogt's warehouse. He doesn't know what to do with it, except sell it or maybe temporarily display it during the College World Series.
And while he understands why the city made him remove the sign, TeVogt can't help but feel a little disheartened.
“It seems like a killjoy,” he said. “It's like they are raining on my parade.”