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Granite Falls adds warm colors to a dark, cold winter's night

GRANITE FALLS - The city of Granite Falls brought warm light to an otherwise dark and cold winter night, and will be doing so from hereon in. Over 80 people joined Thursday evening with temperatures in the mid-teens to cheer as the city turned on...

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Tom Cherveny / Tribune Granite Falls held a ceremony Thursday to turn on a newly-installed LED lighting system to illuminate its historic pedestrian bridge over the Minnesota River.

GRANITE FALLS – The city of Granite Falls brought warm light to an otherwise dark and cold winter night, and will be doing so from hereon in.

Over 80 people joined Thursday evening with temperatures in the mid-teens to cheer as the city turned on a newly installed LED lighting system to illuminate its historic pedestrian bridge spanning the Minnesota River in the city’s downtown.

“People were just excited. It was really a fun event,’’ said Mayor Dave Smiglewski.

In the next month or so, the city will have the system ready to illuminate the water tumbling over its dam upriver from the bridge as well.

The city intends to continue lighting the 280-foot-long bridge and 300-foot-long dam every night of the year.

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The LED systems are computer programmable, and will allow the city to illuminate the bridge and dam in a wide spectrum of colors, similar to the way Minneapolis lights the Interstate 35W and Loring Avenue bridges.

The mayor said the city will change the colors nightly, and will mark special occasions like the 4th of July with a red, white and blue color selection.  

The lighting is the capstone to a $1.4 million project that saw the 1935-vintage, steel suspension bridge restored in 2014.

The city began discussing the possibility of lighting the bridge when it planned the bridge restoration, Smiglewski said. The city soon encountered lots of challenges. Installing electric wiring within anyone’s reach on a steel structure over water posed too many safety concerns, he explained.

The city eventually discovered the LED system that allows it to illuminate the structures. The city will be investing in the neighborhood of $45,000 for the lighting systems and installation.

The lighting is part of an overall effort by the community to celebrate its connection to the river and attract people to the downtown area.

Related Topics: GRANITE FALLS
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