A year and a half ago, a friend, Dan Ramos of Ramco Enterprises, and I were at the Farm-to-Fork Dinner and noticed that our beautiful Tower Bridge was looking a little tired.
That’s when we hit on the idea of improving its lighting.
I understand that change can be a little difficult, and that change for the sake of change is unnecessary. But as much as I love Jack Ohman’s cartoons, I take issue with his characterization of our effort (“What if we didn’t shed new light on the Tower Bridge?” Jack Ohman, March 4).
Our goal at RePower the Tower is not to gild one of our city’s most recognized landmarks. We hope to enhance the iconic bridge.
In 1989, several Sacramento citizens and I got to together to raise sufficient funds to light the Tower Bridge. That was to honor Sacramento’s sesquicentennial. We installed what then was the latest in energy-saving technology, compact fluorescent lighting. But that was 27 years ago and technology has improved.
LED lighting will save electricity, require far less maintenance and provide crisper lighting. Our goal is to raise private funds to improve what already is one of Sacramento’s jewels.
As part of the project, we hope to add the capability to color the lights. We’d add color only on special occasions, say, purple for the Sacramento Kings’ opening night or when they reach the playoffs. Maybe we’d bathe the bridge in red on the Rivercats’ opening night.
We are raising money into a community group, Friends of the Arts Commission. Our goal is to do it right, which means raising $550,000. It’s an ambitious undertaking.
But downtown Sacramento is on the move, and West Sacramento is rapidly transforming itself. We invite you to help us and we look forward to winning over Jack Ohman to the cause.
Sandy Smoley is a former Sacramento County supervisor, and can be reached at RePowerTheTower@gmail.com.