Stone Arch Bridge accent lights have the official go-ahead and should be turned on during an official ceremony sometime after Labor Day, organizers say.
Jay Cowles of the Friends of the Mississippi Riverfront said the project received all necessary approvals from the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the State Historic Preservation Office. The Friends group is paying for lights to accent the undersides of the 12 arches over the Mississippi River.
"The Stone Arch Bridge is a very important historic artifact, as well as part of the life blood of the community today, and it needs to be respected," Cowles said. "We are excited to have
Cowles and Charlie Zelle have raised money for the project and have $250,000-$275,000 in hand for construction, Cowles said. (Xcel Energy contributed $100,000 and Hennepin County $50,000.)
Cowles said "Phase II" next spring will light the trestle, and the half-dozen arches spanning land near Mill Ruins Park and the lock, after budget numbers are refined and the group raises more money.
Paul Miller, city Public Works project manager, said the first round of lighting was 75 percent installed by late July and should be done by mid-August.
Cowles said the official ceremony would be after Labor Day, "simply because people are more likely to be around," he said. "To some extent, the shorter days may assist in the appreciation of the lights being there."
Talk of accent lighting began 18 months ago. Planners had initially hoped to install the lights by July 4, 2004, in time for the Grand Excursion celebration.
Miller said the project has been complicated because multiple jurisdictions needed to give their OK. Cowles and Miller praised the work of Deputy Mayor David Fey who they said had shepherded the project.