City Pulls Proposal For Light Show On Walnut Street Bridge - For Now

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

City officials said Tuesday they are no longer requesting $4 million in the upcoming capital budget for a light show on the historic Walnut Street Bridge.

However, Stacy Richardson, chief of staff to Mayor Andy Berke, said he will push on to have the display installed later.

Instead of $4 million, she said the budget would include $1.3 million for electrical improvements on the bridge.

She said those updates would be necessary for the light show, but are also needed whether or not there is a future light display.

Ms. Richardson said, "The city will continue working to get government approval for the light display.  Because the bridge is historic, we will have to go through the standard process rather than a more fluid process."

She said administration will also continue working with council members, "to get you more comfortable" with the project.

City council members had asked a number of questions about the light show, including the cost of ongoing maintenance.

A group of residents who live near the bridge said they are opposed to the idea.  

City officials said, "The Walnut Street Bridge lighting project that was proposed in the FY19 is a complex infrastructure project that will enhance one of our region's most important public assets. As such, the final design for the lighting project will be extensively vetted through input from the community. Approvals must be secured from various regulatory agencies to ensure the bridge's unique historic character is in no way compromised by our eventual design.

"In particular, the Tennessee State Historic Preservation Office (TN-SHPO) must review a written report with an effects assessment for for the proposed project. After this has occurred, we will be ready to submit our lighting proposal for the approval by the Tennessee Department of Transportation."

A city budget document says of the project:

Ripples of Light by Moment Factory is an architectural and data responsive lighting design that responds to pedestrian activity on the bridge and the flow of the Tennessee River below the bridge to create subtle color variations and ripples of light. Artistic lighting design elements include: pier grazers, heart wash lighting, pendant lighting, beacon fixtures, entrance lighting, interior vertical grazers, exterior vertical grazers and edge grazers to highlight the historic architecture of the bridge. The artistic lighting project includes expenses related to the artistic lighting fixtures and their installation, smart data, prototyping, creative services, technical services and fees.


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