Lighting the grain elevators, great step forward

Things are happening on the water, it’s true. Slowly but surely the critical mass along the Inner and Outer Harbor is growing and it would seem as if there is indeed a rhyme and reason to what is happening.

Despite claims that the “slower, dumber, cheaper” approach has been a silver bullet unto itself, attention around Canalside and various properties on the Outer Harbor has grown to a height that has yet to be seen. The most recent example being the test lighting of a grain elevator last night.

Thanks to BRO for the photo

The test was physical proof of a report that surfaced about a year previous regarding the lighting of grain elevators and bridges along the Buffalo River and other locations on the waterfront. Based on the photos of the event and reports from those that were in attendance, the test not only went off without a hitch but looked phenomenal.

The next step is to actually implement this technology. There should be no further question about the effectiveness. The only planning that should still remain is to simply select the bridges and elevators that will receive the makeover.

There are a handful of elevators in Silo City that are either too obscured by other elevators or too far down the River to benefit from this type of project. However, the Pool Elevator (as per BRO), the Connecting Terminal Elevator, the GLF Elevator and the other mainstays right on the water in Silo City will look terrific bathed in various shades of color. While they’re at it, light up the lift bridges at Ohio and Michigan Streets.

One thing that I hope isn’t followed through on is constant animation of this lighting. Let the daily set up be simple shades much like the Peace Bridge. Keep things simple and only utilize the projector quality for specific events. For example, insert Bills or Sabres players or logos on game nights, the American flag on Memorial Day or July 4th; the list goes on.

The show put on in Quebec every year is a major draw and could be duplicated here. However, if random animations are shown on the side of specific elevators every day, that spectacle would wear out quickly. Think of it as the first few outdoor hockey games compared to playing 15 a season.

Certainly those in charge are aware of what will and won’t work. They saw the presentation last night and likely know that providing any sort of artistic addition to these structures will be a benefit to everyone.

What will be exciting is when this becomes a full-time installment. Driving south on the I-190 or north on Route 5 will become a visual treat for patrons at Sabres games, theater goers or those simply looking to enjoy a night downtown. Making sure that there aren’t any accidents will probably be one of the biggest challenges.

What I’m looking forward to is seeing this in full practice. The Pool Elevator will look cool, but what will truly be a great addition will be when the Connecting Terminal and others in the direct vicinity of the city are bathed in light.


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