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GRDadof3

Neon Lights on the BOB

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Commission trumps planners, allows B.O.B. to have neon lights

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

By Ed White

The Grand Rapids Press

GRAND RAPIDS -- When it comes to wrapping the top of The B.O.B. with a band of neon light, city officials are either unanimously for it or unanimously against it.

But the mint-green light will go up because the City Commission trumps the Planning Commission.

"This one seems overboard. I don't get it," Mayor George Heartwell said of the Planning Commission's 7-0 rejection.

Planning commissioners are "good and competent people with concern for the city at heart. But I'm not with them on this one," he said.

The Planning Commission opposed it last month, saying the light was a "sign" that would substantially diminish area property values and overpower The B.O.B.

I say let there be light! I think the adding lights to more buildings, and getting the bridge lights lit more frequently, makes for a lively downtown.

In case you're interested in the rest of the story:

http://www.mlive.com/news/grpress/index.ss...5200.xml&coll=6

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I say let there be light!  I think the adding lights to more buildings, and getting the bridge lights lit more frequently, makes for a lively downtown.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I agree grdad, it'l probably look pretty cool. But I hope the city commission isn't setting a precedent with this, though, because if every spot in town decides they need a neon sign, then it could get ugly. I can hear it now "Well you let the BOB have a neon sign! Why can't I have one, too?" The other thing I wonder is, why would the city commission completely disregard the advice of the Planning commission like that? Oh well. As long as it doesn't look cheap, tacky or stupid, then I don't see the problem.

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Just to use an example, Lansing has a lot of its downtown buildings lit up with lights along the top rims:

71lansing_night_pan_2.jpg

I think it looks pretty cool.

Credit goes to LMich for that pic ;)

The City Commission also overruled the planning commission on the last revised plans of the Moch project as well, didn't they? Strange behavior going on.

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I am less concerned about lighting on the rims and more concerned about huge signs flashing "eat at joe's" all over the place. I don't know how the moch thing came out. How anyone could approve a project downtown with a blank wall like that is baffling to me. The pic looks cool, though, you are right :)

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The planning commission ALWAYS has a problem with "signage" As Ian McArtney said, how can a band of light (probably 1/2" in diameter) be considered a light?

I actually think they should allow exemptions to the sign ordinance when it fits historically, or is something akin to what an old downtown would have. I'm a big fan of old signage, and think it has its place in history just like a lot of buildings downtown.

Joe

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I am still of the opinion, that the planning commision, and the HPC are obstructionists, and only want things that are boring, and will help secure our cities future in obscurity downtown.

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I am still of the opinion, that the planning commision, and the HPC  are obstructionists, and only want things that are boring, and will help secure our cities future in obscurity downtown.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Some neon is cool. But I think it all would have to be choreographed harmoniously or we'll end up looking like 28th Street.

BTW, downtown Lansing is dead. I mean, really, really dead. Nothing happening. No sign of life, unless you call the neon at night life. And maybe that's all the life there is.

Well, from what I've seen during the day on Sundays, downtown Lansing is dead. Reminds me of GR a la late '60s when I first moved here.

I hear the real action is in East Lansing where you'll find MSU and lots of students. Don't know about any neon there.

Personally, I LOVE neon. But we'll need a really cool, progressive, non-political Neon Overlord to make it work.

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I'm not sure I'd like to see a neon band on every roof of the skyline, but in the case of the BOB it seems quite alright.

With that said, GR needs much more illumination on its buildings. Aside from the courthouse, the blue strip on DeVos Place, the bridge lights, (and the toxic-orange street lamps and parking ramps :sick: ) there is almost nothing downtown. Driving by at night, the the main pieces of the skyline almost disappear. Would it really be too difficult, for example, to add uplights to show-off McKay Tower's beautiful details? What should Plaza Towers, Amway, Bridgewater, and other large buildings do?

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The new Marriott should fix this to some extent...

Joe

I'm not sure I'd like to see a neon band on every roof of the skyline, but in the case of the BOB it seems quite alright. 

With that said, GR needs much more illumination on its buildings.  Aside from the courthouse, the blue strip on DeVos Place, the bridge lights, (and the toxic-orange street lamps and parking ramps  :sick:  ) there is almost nothing downtown.  Driving by at night, the the main pieces of the skyline almost disappear.  Would it really be too difficult, for example, to add uplights to show-off McKay Tower's beautiful details?  What should Plaza Towers, Amway, Bridgewater, and other large buildings do?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

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well first of all we should take down that silly Varnum sign on top of bridgewater, and Burn it. and with that said, I think it would be cool if the Mckay illuminated the upper floors. the Grand Plaza should illuminate the slanted roof part. I'm not sure there's much you can do at plaza towers though, it's a residence, I know if I lived on the 30th floor of that building I'd have a hard time sleeping if a big spotlight was shining thru my bedroom window

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That is why we need some buildings with spires! The perfect solution to lighting the city.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I agree, and on top of that, it would make our skyline much more interesting. The Lyon at Ottawa tower would've had a spire if I'm not mistaken. Too bad it never got built :(

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I too have seen the green neon. I first spotted it on my way across the river via the walking bridge connecting GVSU and Plaza Towers. It is very bright, but also very tasteful. The green color is different, as it seems most neon that goes up is either blue or red. I think it adds a lot of character to the BOB and is not a "sign" by any means.

Does anyone have any comments on the light show that Spectrum's Butterworth campus has going on the roof? I live 2 blocks from there and sometimes I think an Airbus A380 is about to bust through the window and land on my bedroom floor. I know they need some beacons for Aeromed and stuff, but it's crazy.

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When you're alone & life is making you lonely

You can always go ~ Downtown

When you've got worries, all the noise & the hurry

Seems to help, I know ~ Downtown

Just listen to the music of the traffic in the city

Linger on the sidewalk where the neon signs are pretty

How can you lose?

CHORUS:

The lights are much brighter there

You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares

So go downtown, things'll be great when you're

Downtown ~ no finer place, for sure

Downtown ~ everything's waiting for you

Don't hang around & let your problems surround you

There are movie shows ~ Downtown

Maybe you know some little places to go to

Where they never close ~ Downtown

Just listen to the rhythm of a gentle bossa nova

You'll be dancing with him too before the night is over

Happy again

CHORUS

Downtown ~ waiting for you tonight

Downtown ~ you're gonna be all right now

And you may find somebody kind to help & understand you

Someone who is just like you & needs a gentle hand to

Guide them along

So maybe I'll see you there

We can forget all our troubles, forget all our cares

So go downtown, things'll be great when you're

Downtown ~ don't wait a minute for

Downtown ~ everything's waiting for you

Downtown, downtown, downtown, downtown...

and if you don't like it, stay in the burbs...

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:D I love em. That's funny, I just noticed the lights Friday night too. We all probably almost run into each other every day.

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