Lights to be installed on west side of Hoan Bridge

The Daniel Hoan Memorial Bridge in Milwaukee.
The Daniel Hoan Memorial Bridge in Milwaukee.

Last updated on July 17th, 2020 at 02:05 pm

Lights will be installed on one side of the Daniel Hoan Memorial Bridge in Milwaukee following a two-year fundraising campaign by the community-backed initiative “Light the Hoan.”

The organization announced Wednesday that enough funds have been raised to install lights on the west portion of the bridge by the end of the summer. Light the Hoan said it is doing its part to “illuminate the path forward,” noting this week was supposed to be the kickoff of the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee before it was delayed by COVID-19.

“In times of crisis, light can be a symbol of hope and comfort,” Light the Hoan co-founder Michael Hostad said in a statement. “We know that lighting a bridge doesn’t solve our health or social challenges, but, from day one, we wanted this project to be about more than lights on a bridge. To that end, moving forward with lighting the Hoan allows us to demonstrate that mission through programs like Code the Hoan, which creates unique STEM education opportunities for local students who will be able to program the lights on the bridge.”

Following the project’s first phase, Light the Hoan will continue to raise the remaining $1.1 million to light the east side of the bridge. The organization has raised all of its funds privately, so no public funds have been used for the project.

Through an initiative called “Code the Hoan,” the organization’s partners will provide local students with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) opportunities as they play a role in programming the bridge lighting system.

In addition to color changing and animation, the lights can be synchronized to respond to external events like a Brewers’ home run, a big play at the Fiserv Forum or live music.

Light the Hoan is also leading the “Shine a Light” program in which one night a month the bridge will be lit in colors representing a non-profit. Bulb sales from that month will go to support the represented non-profit.

“While we’re all disappointed that this pandemic robbed Milwaukee of its opportunity to sit at the center of the global stage as scheduled for 2020, we’re incredibly proud of all the work and partnerships that went into this project moving ahead this year, when Milwaukee needs it the most,” Light the Hoan co-founder Ian Abston said in a statement.

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