Metroplex spending $40K to upgrade light displays in Schenectady – The Daily Gazette – The Daily Gazette
SCHENECTADY — The Schenectady County Metroplex Development Authority will spend $40,000 on new technology that will better coordinate colorful LED light displays featured on a number of prominent fixtures throughout downtown.
The development authority’s board voted last week to purchase a theatrical lighting control unit from BMI Supplies of Queensbury that would centralize control of the light displays that drench in color a number of downtown structures, including the City Hall clock tower, Proctors and rail bridges that pass over State Street and Erie Boulevard.
Ray Gillen, Metroplex chairman, said the light displays have become popular since they began three years ago, but organizing the displays is a hectic process, requiring coordination between three different entities that takes time and utilizes services that are not always readily available.
Currently, a lighting engineer from Proctors controls the theater’s display. But the city’s engineering department, one of the busiest in City Hall, must light up the various landmarks throughout downtown, including the Broadway parking structure, Gateway Plaza and the statue of Lawrence the Indian that sits in the heart of the Stockade neighborhood.
Amtrak controls the lighting of the city’s train station, which will not change once the new controls are installed sometime later this year, said Gillen.
“This would bring all that under one control, except for the Amtrak station, but they’re extremely cooperative,” he said.
A number of light displays have been coordinated since Metroplex began investing in the lights three years ago, including a display last November when the fixtures were illuminated in green in honor of veterans.
Other prominent displays include the city being illuminated blue back in 2019 to mark the opening of “Frozen” at Proctors, and a 518 Rainbow display in 2020, which sought to boost morale at in the early days of the pandemic.
Gillen said the hope is to formulate a schedule for the light shows to coordinate with holidays and whenever there is a major event taking place downtown once the control unit is installed. A lighting engineer from Proctors will coordinate the displays moving forward.
Metroplex has hopes to continue its lighting efforts in the future and will need a centralized control as new projects come online, Gillen said.
He pointed to a number of lighting projects that will received funding as part of the city’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, a $10 million state grant awarded in 2019 to spark economic activity in the downtown area.
Plans include new lighting along the Jay Street pedestrian corridor, as well as LED street lighting on Clinton Street and North Broadway.
“This system will continue to grow and we need to have a central spot that can be coordinated and managed, and I think the price is very modest,” Gillen said.
Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: 518-410-5117 or </…….