Here’s a “Light the Sherman” (Minton bridge) update.

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Light the Sherman (Facebook)

Light the Sherman is an initiative to add decorative lighting to the Sherman Minton Bridge during the forthcoming time of bridge rehabilitation work. The movement’s theory is that lighting the bridge will draw businesses and visitors to downtown New Albany and the Portland neighborhood in Louisville.

Following is an update from November 22, 2019. As I’ve noted previously, NA Confidential is neutral about this proposal.

Hello Everyone. Sorry for the delay.

So there are a few of us working behind the scenes to pave the way for fundraising to begin. The first step was confirming that the Federal government wouldn’t prohibit lighting additions. We have heard back from one of our senators that the project is indeed a possibility without any prohibition if funding can be identified.

We’ve also heard from INDOT that they are supportive of the idea, with the caveat that functional repair is priority of course and that we identify our own funding. This is a good start. Most of the city councilmen on the Indiana side I’ve spoken with are favorable to the idea and the mayor has stated he thinks it’s a good idea in principle.

This is a non-partisan initiative and we want to keep it that way. Reviving Downtown New Albany and Portland/Shawnee is in everyone’s best interest. Making the riverfronts and greenway an attractive place to be will increase property values, increase small business startups, increase sales tax revenue, increase employment, all yielding more funding for the city to create a snowball effect of redevelopment and help with essential needs as well.

The next steps are to establish a leadership team and/or coalition to coordinate the design and fundraising. We will likely be creating a non-profit corporation very soon to appropriately capture fundraising and then become a legal funding arm to INDOT to hopefully make this happen.

Lighting the bridge is merely a spark to drive businesses, residents, tourists and foot traffic to want to be in sight of the bridge. It should be thought of as part of the overall picture of redeveloping the riverfront and greenway on both sides of the river.

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