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"Diving Lady" returns to Mesa

 She took her first plunge sometime in the early 1960s. A storm in 2010 ended her career, but now Mesa’s "Diving Lady" is about to return.

“She” is an animated neon sign in east Mesa. The iconic figure in the blue bathing suit dove for years in front of the Starlite Motel. When the sign went up near Main and Lindsay five decades ago, there was little but farms and desert in east Mesa. For travelers returning to the Valley from the east, the Diving Lady was a sign they were close to home. 

After decades of splashing into a neon pool, the lady was blown down during a storm in 2010. That belly flop destroyed the neon tubes and much of the original metal structure. Now two and a half years and $120,000 later, the sign has been reinforced.

The neon tubes have been replaced, and the lady in blue is about to return. Mesa community leaders are set to throw the switch on the 78 foot tall sign Tuesday night. Motorists will once again see the Diving Lady as she leaps through the sky into the neon water below.