CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - A “Flip the Switch” event will light the 24 new lights on the mural wall in Downtown Cape Girardeau.
“After working on this for nearly 15 years we were beginning to think it was never going to happen," said Danny Essner, Old Town Cape board president.
With more than a decade of planning, a dream turned into a reality for Essner.
“The historic murals on the flood wall in Cape were painted in 2004-2005, about 15 or 16 years ago and at the time they were repainted the intention was to go ahead and illuminate them," he said.
That’s when Essner said problems started to create barriers.
“With technology that was available at that time we couldn’t find any light fixtures to adequately illuminate the murals or that were affordable," he said.
Federal regulations caused the light project to go off the rails.
“It’s a federal law that if you work in close proximity to a railroad track you have to have a flagman in place to watch for oncoming trains and it has to be a railroad employee," he said.
Paying for that manpower would add thousands of dollars to the cost.
“We were out of money," Essner said, but then, the project had a stroke of luck.
“We learned totally by accident that Ameren was getting ready to start on a project at the cement plant and they were already paying for a flagman for six weeks. And if it was okay with Ameren we could use their flagman with no cost to us." he said.
So the work on the light started and on Thursday that hard work paid off.
“I mean there’s a lot of projects I work on at cape electric and they just come and go but one like this is definitely worth seeing the end result. It gives you a little bit of a warm fuzzy feeling," said Kevin Amschler, Cape Electric Supply.
The historic Mississippi River Tales murals on the floodwall were recently cleaned and 24 LED lights were installed.
According to Old Town Cape, the cleaning and illuminating of the panels started 12 years ago, and was recently made possible after advances in lighting technology that made it more practical and affordable.