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Temporary LEDs installed to demonstrate concept for Light the Hoan Bridge initiative

Milwaukee residents got a glimpse for three nights of what the Daniel Hoan Memorial Bridge would look like illuminated, when Light the Hoan temporarily installed connected LED lighting on November 1.

In collaboration with Signify, a world leader in lighting, representatives from the organization have been visiting Milwaukee since late October. Their engineers have spent a significant number of hours installing a partial panel of dynamic LED lights on the city-facing, north end of the bridge.

The display could be seen lighting up each of the nights demonstrating the extraordinary capabilities of the technology, from an expanded palette of more than a billion saturated colors to stunning dynamic effects that can be programmed to commemorate special events, holidays, and important civic causes.

Light the Hoan co-founder, Michael Hostad, hopes the demo helped Cream City residents envision the group’s efforts to shed a light on Milwaukee’s iconic yellow arches — and pave the way for creating a brighter future here.

“We can present renderings, but it just doesn’t do the project justice,” Hostad says. “We want the community to do more than imagine what an illuminated Hoan Bridge would look like — we want them to see it for themselves, and understand the aesthetic, economic and community impacts.”

Signify is responsible for illuminating some of the most iconic landmarks in the world, including the Empire State Building; the Jacques Cartier Bridge in Montreal, the Allianz Arena in Munich; and the London Eye, to name a few. Artistic lighting installations such as these can spark increased tourism, economic development, neighborhood revitalization, and civic pride in communities.

“Innovations in lighting are fundamentally changing how people see and experience the world around them,” says Jhawn Newman, SVP of Connected Lighting Systems and Services at Signify and proud Milwaukee resident. “This is particularly compelling in cities where public lighting installations of a prominent landmark like the Hoan Bridge can contribute to the social and economic prosperity of a community, its local businesses, and its citizens.”

Little Rock, an urban area roughly one-third the size of Milwaukee, has used its lighting installation, River Lights in the Rock, to help promote its convention business, generating a tourism impact of nearly $13 million. In San Francisco, restaurants and bars with a view of the Bay Lights on the San Francisco Bay Bridge have reported revenue increases as high as 30 percent.

Each city continues to use the unique lighting to highlight various holidays, sports and civic causes in their communities, according to Signify research on public lighting impacts. Light the Hoan hopes to generate similar impacts in Milwaukee.

“What we wanted to demonstrate is how the lights on the Hoan can be a visual representation of the pulse of our city,” said Abston, the group’s co-founder.

To celebrate the demo, Light the Hoan hosted an event at Milwaukee Sail Loft featuring a viewing of the Bucks vs. Celtics game on November 1. Anyone within viewing distance of the bridge was able to see how the lights sync to key events in the game.

“Imagine watching the bridge lights react to a 3-point shot or a dunk by Giannis — all in real-time,” added Abston.

Earlier this year, a collective of business and civic leaders formed Light the Hoan as a committee of the Daniel Hoan Foundation. The group has launched a public crowdsourcing campaign to raise more than $1.5 million to install LED lights on the Hoan Bridge. The funds raised through the campaign are nearing the $300,000 mark.

MKE Drone

Light the Hoan Bridge

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