Local News

Fayetteville Street Chandeliers Could Light Boylan Heights

Posted January 10, 2007 5:31 p.m. EST
Updated January 10, 2007 6:49 p.m. EST

— Chandeliers that downtown boosters once hoped to hang along Fayetteville Street could soon brighten the Boylan Heights neighborhood.

A year ago, local arts supporters proposed placing 16 chandeliers along Fayetteville Street intersections. The 25-foot-tall chandeliers had a solid terra-cotta base and thick glass designed to show different colors when viewed from different angles.

The City Council put the $2 million plan on hold, however, saying the chandeliers wouldn't fit in with the look of Fayetteville Street.

Now, residents of Boylan Heights, a historic neighborhood on the western edge of downtown, are embracing the design. The neighborhood association has asked that some of the chandeliers be placed along the Boylan Avenue Bridge, which many consider as a gateway to downtown.

"Historically, there was an iron bridge that had an architectural sort of framework around it, and the chandeliers provide the same sense of entry, sense of presence," resident Lyman Collins said. ”It’s a wonderful statement for the city.”

Raleigh leaders asked the Raleigh Arts Commission to come up with an alternate location for a few of the chandeliers. The commission supports the bridge location and will bring the idea to City Council.

Supporters said the chandeliers would be able to be seen from the warehouse district, downtown high-rises and passing trains.

Opponents said the chandeliers don't fit any better on Boylan Avenue than they would have on Fayetteville Street, though.

"I don't think the design process is being followed correctly. You determine a need and decide what to go there. In this case, we've got something to go someplace that's looking for a home," said Andrew Leager, a member of the Raleigh Appearance Commission who owns a business near the Boylan Avenue bridge.

Even if the council approves the idea, the chandeliers aren't funded. Progress Energy and RBC Centura had planned to pay for them if they were placed on Fayetteville Street.