Lexington, Kentucky, USA, is known as the "City in the Park" because it is a big city just a short distance from picturesque horse farms. Downtown Lexington offers the amenities of an urban center, such as historical monuments, sports arenas, museums, and theaters, along with small town charm.
Looking to increase tourism and revitalize the area, the Lexington and Fayette County Parking Authority (LFCPA) decided to renovate a bland concrete garage on a prominent block on Main Street. The Helix Garage first underwent renovations to address the structural and safety issues of the aging edifice. Then to add visual interest and create a large scale public art installation, Philips Color Kinetics LED lighting solutions lit the decorative stainless steel panels. The Helix Garage was the first LED lighting installation commissioned by the city.
"The LED lighting system allows the LFCPA to provide an ever-changing collage of color for downtown visitors to enjoy, while also reinforcing the LFCPA commitment to implement green technology whenever possible," said Edward Trammell, Planning and Project Manager for the LFCPA.
The Philips Color Kinetics LED lighting solution met the requirements for the project's green initiatives and offered the color versatility needed to add movement and variety to the project. Once installed, the fixtures would not be easily accessible so it was important that the fixtures require little to no maintenance.
This multifaceted project used a variety of Philips Color Kinetics products. Eighty ColorBurst Powercore fixtures lie along on the inside ledge of the garage ramp, roughly 4.5 ft (1.37 m) apart. On each of the street-facing metal rectangular frames, ColorGraze MX4 Powercore fixtures fill the rectangles with color. On the signage of the garage, iColor Flex LMX strands (now specified using iColor Flex LMX gen2) line the borders of the "park" letters. More iColor Flex LMX bulbs illuminate the openings in the metal panels surrounding the sign.
Although the owners of the garage were expecting the lighting installation to beautify the area, they were also pleasantly surprised by other unforeseen added benefits. "We've learned from studying other cities that adding visual appeal to public parking facilities increases use and pays dividends for years. The lighting of the Helix ramps and the Main Street façade is a cost effective form of public art," said Gary Means, Executive Director of LFCPA.
The renovation was a wise financial decision not only for the garage, but for the city. The added attention to the area could promote further economic development in downtown Lexington.
The Helix Garage was recently awarded the Landscape and Streetscape Award by the Downtown Lexington Corporation for "outstanding effort in maintaining a visual pleasantness to the downtown area."