All Lit Up
West Memphis gets the lights on around city landmarks
West Memphis LED light projects are on the mend.
The Gateway lights on the interchange underpass at Missouri street shone pink during October for breast cancer awareness. The Watershed sculpture had repairs ordered to restore the blue hues on the tank.
The ‘Welcome to West Memphis’ lights along the Interstates on the levy were being tuned up to eliminate flickering.
Convention and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Jim Jackson said the repairs help put the spot light back on the city for tourists. He praised spe- cial attention from the city utilities department which helped re-ignite two of the civic light projects. There was no warranty in effect for the problems on the Gateway underpass lights.
“We have to give all the credit to Maria Adams and Todd Pedersen and the West Memphis Utilities,” said Jackson. “They literally took care of it for the entire year since we had the problem. They deserve all the credit they can get for it.”
More changes were scheduled for the Gateway lights. Removing deflectors from the LED lamps was expected soon and would serve to expand the wash of the light display. Plans to rotate light colors every few minutes were shelved.
“There won’t be any more dancing lights,” said Jackson. “They remain programmable so we can vary the light color to support themes like cancer or for each season. “
Utilities General Manager Todd Pedersen said the trouble shooting to solve the lighting malfunction came down to a process of elimination.
“We tried different combinations on the lights,” said Pedersen. “The northeast section still doesn’t work.
It shorts out the whole display so we are lighting the other 7/8 of the display right now. Its probably a short some where.”
The interstate solar powered LED welcome sign lights endured some challenges with strobing after being installed.
“Honestly, credit goes to Maria again,” said Jackson. “We fixed the one on Interstate 55 by switching to conventional power and have been tweaking things on the I-40 location.”
Tuesday night the Interstate 55 glowed making for a warm welcome, while the Interstate 40 sign was out.
The civic lighting project getting the most brickbats has been the $240,000 Watershed stainless steel and LED lighted modern art sculpture on Broadway. After battling struggles with power surges during summer storms that blacked out the display, lights have been restored to the tank.
A bouquet for overcoming the monumental struggle to keep the tank brightly illuminated on the unique artistic treatment of the cities tallest landmark may be in order. In October the problems were definitively diagnosed and adequately funded for repair on the old water tower.
Jackson offered his perspective for keeping the lights on.
“To tourists it means we are not closed for business at night because it had been so dark especially with the underpass,” said Jackson.
“The light projects make us look like we are making progress as a city. It speaks well of us as a city.”