Hartford BID hopes to restore roof-line lights in downtown

By JOE VANDELAARSCHOT - Daily News

Oct. 8, 2017

Traffic moves along Main Street near the intersection of Sumner Street on
Tuesday in downtown Hartford.
John Ehlke/Daily News


HARTFORD — When you see a community lit up at night it evokes warmth, vibrancy and a touch of magic. Many long-time Hartford residents remember fondly when the downtown was lit up at night while they were shopping or dining.

The Hartford Business Improvement District (BID) wants to recreate that nostalgic atmosphere. The group is working on a new infrastructure project to bring back the downtown lights along Main Street by paying for new ones and their installation. Autumn Fest and the Pink Pumpkin Run are taking place today in the city’s downtown and the Downtown Lights Committee will have a spot on Main Street and a display trying to raise funds for the project.

Committee Chairperson Wendy Dulak said they are looking to raise $200,000 to return the lights to downtown.

“The new LED-RGB color changing roof-line lights will be a permanent installation and will be lit every night year-round,” Dulak said. “The lights will be different colors for the holidays and special occasions and white for the rest of the year. Our goal is to have the lights ready for the 2018 holiday season.”

Dulak said every person who makes a donation of $25 or more will receive a commemorative downtown lights pin.

Dana Osmankski is a member of the BID committee and also owns a downtown Hartford building. She said the fund raising effort has been receiving a very positive response.

“Everyone that remembers the old lights, that I’ve talked to, the smile comes on their face when they think of how beautiful the lights were and how welcoming they were on Main Street,” Osmanski said. “That’s the very first thing — they just start smiling.”

Lights are seen lining one of the buildings Tuesday night in downtown Hartford.
John Ehlke/Daily News

Osmanski said the ability of the new lights to change color for special occasions is a special feature.

“It’s looking ahead to the future while bringing something back from the past with more efficient technology and opportunities for many celebrations,” Osmanski said. “The biggest intention of our group is to be as helpful to the property owners as possible so they don’t have to pay the cost of the lights and their maintenance.”

Dulak said the idea for having new lights put in the downtown started about two years ago with the Hartford Historical Preservation Foundation.

“They were looking for ways to fund raise for other projects in the community and we did some brainstorming on different things and I remembered the lights being on downtown and loving that look so I threw out the idea of trying to do that,” Dulak said. “Everyone really liked the idea so it went from there to fundraising at our Toasting and Tasting event. Then the BID group took over because we thought that was the best place for the project to be because it is dealing with the downtown infrastructure.”

The new light system the committee chose was Inception Lighting. Tis the Season Lighting in Hartford is a licensed installer of the light system.

“One of the steps is that we need to get permission from all of the buildings’ owners. We’re waiting to get back lease agreements from all of the buildings’ owners to give us permission to use the tops of their buildings,” Dulak said. “The lights will actually be owned by the city and the city will help us maintain them, however, Tis the Season will perform any major maintenance that’s needed.”

Donations can be accepted and pins are available at: Douglas Jewelers, Landmark Credit Union, Faith & Giggles, The Local Collective, First National Bank, Lotus Be Well, Grand Avenue Dental Care, Nail Essentials, the Hartford Area Chamber of Commerce, Perc Place and Salon Effervescence.

For more information the public can visit the BID Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/HartfordWIBID/ or contact Dulak at 414-526-0379.