ALTON - The Alton City Council approved a series of resolutions to fund the installation of decorative LED lighting on the Clark Bridge in an effort to improve its appearance and boost economic activity through tourism. The project totals nearly $1 million and will be funded by American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, an Ameren Illinois incentive program, and more.

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A total of $995,915.51 in funding was approved from the following sources:

  • $600,000 from the city’s Travel and Tourism funds
  • $243,915.51 from the city’s ARPA funds
  • $152,000 from an intergovernmental agreement with Alton Township

The new lighting will also reportedly be more energy efficient than the current lighting, resulting in 73% less energy use. The current lighting draws 165 watts per fixture, whereas the new lighting will consume only 45 watts per fixture.

Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau CEO Cory Jobe, Third Ward Alderman Raymond Strebel, and Mayor David Goins have all previously expressed support for the project.

“This is truly an inspiring project for Alton,” Jobe said. “This project will bring a unique addition to our night skyline. It will have a significant impact on the number of visitors we have as well as potentially extending length of stays and creating an economic boost to business owners, investors and to the community as a whole through increased tax revenues.”

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“I think it is a wonderful idea,” Mayor Goins said. “We will also have to look at the maintenance of it, but I am definitely excited about the opportunity."

$10,560 from an Ameren Illinois Energy Efficiency Business Program Incentive the city has applied for will be paid to GRP Wegman of Bethalto at a rate of $0.50 per watt upon their completion of the project, which Alderman Raymond Strebel said he anticipates to be either next May or June depending on the severity of this winter.

Strebel requested each source of the project’s funding be approved under a suspension of the rules on Wednesday to help expedite the process. His intention is to have as much of the work completed as possible before this winter arrives and conditions get too cold and/or hazardous to continue installation.

“When the Clark Bridge was opened in 1994, it was touted as a ‘Super Bridge’ and now it truly will be,” Strebel said. “This project will enhance Alton’s identity as a historic and welcoming community.”

A full recording of the Aug. 23 Alton City Council meeting can be watched at the top of this story or on the Facebook page.

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