3 Arkansas River bridges to be lit up by end of 2013

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Entergy) - Three bridges spanning the Arkansas River between Little Rock and North Little Rock will be illuminated by the end of the year, thanks to a gift from Entergy Arkansas and the Entergy Charitable Foundation.

That announcement was made today by Hugh McDonald, President and CEO of Entergy Arkansas and Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola.

In addition to Entergy, the cities of Little Rock and North Little Rock, as well as the Clinton Foundation, the Pulaski County Junction Bridge Authority, Philips Lighting Company and Koontz Electric are investing in the $2.4 million project. Philips Lighting, which has installed lighting on several landmarks throughout the world, will provide the LED lighting for the three bridges.

McDonald said the project is an appropriate way to recognize the company's 100th anniversary and its founder, Harvey Couch.

"Arkansas native and entrepreneur Harvey Couch was already a leader on the national stage when he chaired our state's centennial celebration in 1936--the same year the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge opened to the public. A bridge Mr. Couch, as a director of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, championed."

"From our company's beginning in 1913 until now, we continue, through our support of the Downtown Little Rock Partnership, to invest in progressive efforts, like the Bridge Lighting Project, to attract visitors," McDonald said. "Harvey Couch believed in selling the spirit of Arkansas, its opportunities and possibilities, and we do, too."

The Clinton Presidential Park Bridge, the Main Street Bridge and the Junction Bridge Pedestrian Walkway will be illuminated using environmentally friendly LED lighting, according to Stodola.

"We are extremely grateful for this once-in-a-generation opportunity provided by Entergy Arkansas," said Mayor Stodola. "Their generosity will help transform our communities and will be yet another way to attract visitors to Little Rock, North Little Rock and the entire metropolitan area. "

Based on conversations with mayors who have embarked on similar lighting projects, Stodola said, "We've confirmed that lighting enhancements like this serve as a place-based approach for tourism and an enhanced stage for economic development."

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

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

"It is an honor to be able to make this announcement on behalf of a company that would not exist if not for the vision of Harvey Couch," McDonald said.

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


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