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story.lead_photo.caption This partial lighting demonstration Thursday evening shows Linden's 1934 water tower at only 17 percent of the final lighting capacity. Photo by Neil Abeles / Texarkana Gazette.

Linden's recent community meeting on the possibility of lighting its historical 1934 water tower ended with a round of applause.

This was even before a flip of the switch turned on a partial demonstration, at 17 percent power, of how the lights would look.

The impression of the 50 residents attending seemed summarized by downtown building- owner Anna Barber.

"This is an indication of the concern leaders are having for our town. It's really appreciated. And whichever decision we make, I'm excited. It's a good thing and may the Force be with you," Barber said to the group.

Longview Lights, whose specialty is large-scale lighting, presented the Linden audience with two plans for lighting the tower.

The first consisted of several individual lights and the second of fewer but intense lights, which could be more widely varied. The costs were similar at $29,900 for the first option and $31,200 for the second option.

Linden Heritage Foundation President Joe Lovelace, center, talks with citizens in the dark Thursday night. Linden, Texas, residents are looking up at the nearby 1934 water tower that has been partially lighted as a demonstration.

The company representatives noted the high quality of the LED lights they would use, which would be of the same kind and quality as those lighting buildings of major cities. The company also gave as an example a completed project with Jefferson's older train trestle.

Joe Lovelace, president of the Linden Heritage Foundation which is proposing the project, noted that paying for the lights would be by a voluntary public fund drive.

Lovelace said a decision about whether to proceed with the lighting project would be made soon and the project is approved, details on how to donate would be forthcoming.

"In talking with the city, we've noted the city owns the tower and our goal is to raise private funding to give the tower lighting project to the city. The city would agree to provide the electricity and maintenance costs," Lovelace said.

Longview Lighting officials said a maintenance contract with the city would cost $500 annually for the first option and $900 yearly for the second option.

Some questions raised from the audience concerned the stability of the lights, concern for ambient lighting in the downtown area and impact on the tower's historic appearance.

The questions were answered in that no lighting maintenance problems had been experienced by the company, that only the tower itself would reflect light and that the lights would be turned off at certain hours and retain the tower's historic appearance.

Lovelace concluded that what is being called for is that the public express its positive or negative opinions by contacting project leaders. It was at this point that the assembled group seemed to indicate a favorable opinion.

If the project proceeds, a fund drive is expected to start in July, hopefully to conclude in August.

The steering committee for the lighting project has been representatives of Linden Economic Development Corporation (LEDC), Lions Club, Main Street, Linden Area Chamber of Commerce, City of Linden and Linden Heritage Foundation.

For more information, contact Lovelace at 512-799-6294 or email joe.lovelace@lindenheritage.org or Christophe Trahan, director Linden EDC, at 903-756-7774 or email lindenedc@gmail.com.

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