The city had a light bulb moment this week.
The Victoria Street Bridge lighting project, estimated to cost $350,000, was proposed to council at the governance meeting Monday.
The unique art project would have the Trail bridge outfitted with thousands of LED lights that would reflect off the Columbia River and create a nightly wave-like design.
Mike Martin, chair of the Downtown Opportunities and Action Committee (DOAC) said the bridge lighting project has reached a crucial point of inception but before the idea can proceed, an artistic rendering needs to be generated.
“We have early indications of support,” explained Martin. “We are asking council to consider approving funds up to $4,000 to pursue the rendering,” he said, adding, “this will allow for input into the concept by council and we believe could lead to endorsement and part of the 2014 capital plan (budget).”
Before Martin was allotted $4,000, council switched to questions about the timing of the project in terms of the downtown revitalization plan.
“The plan is to finish Victoria Street and then move into the downtown area for the next phase,” said Coun. Rick Georgetti. “Do you see this lighting project as a priority over that?” he questioned. “If you had to chose, would you pick lighting or move into the downtown, because we won’t be able to do all of that next year.”
Coun. Kevin Jolly countered saying the idea has merit.
“I think this shows that if we get creative and think outside the box we are taking steps forward and doing something different than we’ve ever done before.”
Martin said that the DOAC has early indications that a substantial portion of the $350,000 project could come from private sources, but before anything could proceed, an artist’s drawing is needed.
“It’s kind of a chicken or the egg thing,” explained Martin. “Before we can go any further in the proposal and pursue funding we first need to show how it will look.”
Martin did get a nod and the funds to pursue a drawing of the lighting design and plans to present it to council in November.
“Once supported by council by way of inclusion, the team can vigorously pursue its marketing of the project to others,” concluded Martin.
The DOAC was formed in 2010 to serve as an advisory board to Trail council, with respect to projects and initiatives the city was working on.
The committee was reestablished earlier this month, and with its new membership, remains focused on revitalization activities.
Martin revealed a number of DOAC initiatives to council, including a Columbia River viewing station, a steam clock on the Esplanade, car sharing, design parameters for the main gateways into the city (phase two and three of the downtown plan), and hosting future downtown events.
For now, council approved the DOAC to form work teams to do the legwork and explore those ideas with the objective to report back to council for decision-making.