Light the Hoan campaign receives $1.2 million grant

Lights could be installed in time for DNC

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The Light the Hoan campaign to install LED lighting on Milwaukee’s Daniel Hoan Memorial Bridge has received a $1.2 million grant from an anonymous donor through the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.

Campaign leaders said Monday they are confident the $4.5 million project can be completed in time for the Democratic National Convention in July 2020. The grant was announced Monday afternoon at the Greater Milwaukee Committee monthly meeting,

A group of Milwaukee business and civic leaders launched a public crowdsourcing campaign in May 2018 to help raise more than $1.5 million to put lights on the Hoan bridge, which connects downtown Milwaukee to the south shore.

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The anonymous donation is the largest individual gift received by the group so far, and brings the fundraising effort near the halfway mark of the total $4.5 million goal. In June the campaign announced it had raised $500,000.

Phases 1 and 2, which include project development, engineering of the lighting and bridge lighting design, are moving forward, campaign leaders said Monday.

“Light the Hoan is beyond thrilled to have the support of local citizens and business leaders who share in our vision to create a brighter future for the City of Milwaukee,” said Michael Hostad, co-founder of Light the Hoan. “We are feeling energized — and confident — that we will reach our fundraising goal to help position Milwaukee in the best light when more than 50,000 people descend on Cream City for next year’s convention.”

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Other donations for the project have come from The Lacey Sadoff Foundation, the WE Energies Foundation, the Milwaukee Bucks, the Herzfeld Foundation, Miller Coors, Concurrency and other donors. Naming rights discussions for the bridge lights are in progress, leaders said.

“Milwaukee is getting national and global attention for the incredible things going on in this city, and we see a tremendous opportunity to follow the lead of other cities that have experienced the economic benefits of urban lighting projects,” said Ian Abston, Light the Hoan co-founder. “What we envisioned three years ago is rapidly becoming a reality, and we couldn’t be more excited to build on this momentum with a project that truly reflects our generation and our community.”

In 2015, the state completed a $278 million project to rebuild the Hoan Bridge. Originally the project was to include aesthetic lighting at a cost of $500,000 to $1 million. Those plans to light the bridge, at taxpayer expense, generated considerable controversy and were eventually quietly eliminated from the project.

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