Three bridges between LR and NLR to be illuminated

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - Three bridgesspanning the Arkansas River between Little Rock and North Little Rock will beilluminated by the end of the year, thanks to a gift from Entergy Arkansas andthe Entergy Charitable Foundation. The announcement was made Monday by HughMcDonald, President and CEO of Entergy Arkansas and Little Rock Mayor MarkStodola.

In addition to Entergy, the citiesof Little Rock and North Little Rock, as well as the Clinton Foundation, thePulaski County Junction Bridge Authority, Philips Lighting Company and KoontzElectric are investing in the $2.4 million project. Philips Lighting, which hasinstalled lighting on several landmarks throughout the world, will provide theLED lighting for the three bridges.

McDonald said the project is anappropriate way to recognize the company's 100th anniversary and itsfounder, Harvey Couch.

"Arkansas nativeand entrepreneur Harvey Couch was already a leader on the national stage when hechaired our state's centennial celebration in 1936--the same year the SanFrancisco-Oakland Bay Bridge opened to the public. A bridge Mr. Couch, as adirector of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, championed.

From our company'sbeginning in 1913 until now, we continue, through our support of the DowntownLittle Rock Partnership, to invest in progressive efforts, like the BridgeLighting Project, to attract visitors. Harvey Couch believed in selling thespirit of Arkansas, its opportunities and possibilities, and we do, too."

The Clinton Presidential ParkBridge, the Main Street Bridge and the Junction Bridge Pedestrian Walkway willbe illuminated using environmentally friendly LED lighting, according toStodola.

"We are extremely grateful for thisonce-in-a-generation opportunity provided by Entergy Arkansas. Their generositywill help transform our communities and will be yet another way to attractvisitors to Little Rock, North Little Rock and the entire metropolitan area.

Based on conversations with mayors who haveembarked on similar lighting projects, we've confirmed that lightingenhancements like this serve as a place-based approach for tourism and anenhanced stage for economic development."

PhilipsLighting became involved in the project through its participation with the U.S.Conference of Mayors. Stodola serves on the Advisory Council of theorganization. Philips' lighting projects include the Eiffel Tower, theSydney Opera House, the Empire State Building, and the Times Square Ball in NewYork City.

Entergy is making its gift throughthe Downtown Partnership, which McDonald said has long been at the forefront ofdevelopment in the downtown region. McDonald also recognized family members ofHarvey Couch, founder of Entergy's predecessor Arkansas Power & Light, whowere in attendance at Monday's announcement.

According to Stodola, work on theproject will begin soon and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.