Downtown leaders look to create bright lights district
"Times Square in New York, The Denver Theater District in Colorado, and Piccadilly Circus in London — each is a vibrant district with neon signs and bright lights.
Now, Atlanta leaders want a portion of the downtown core to be illuminated with large signs and video boards just as the city preps for marquee events including the Super Bowl in 2019.
Downtown advocacy group Central Atlanta Progress (CAP) is leading an effort to create the Atlanta Arts and Entertainment District where the bright signs and billboards could go.
The area would stretch from the Georgia World Congress Center east to Piedmont Avenue, and from the attractions at Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard south to Underground Atlanta. The district would include the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Philips Arena, The Tabernacle and Georgia Aquarium.
This week, an ordinance was introduced in Atlanta to allow for new permits for property owners to install signage in the district. The new guidelines would be far less stringent than those currently on the books.
'In downtown today, and most of the city of Atlanta, the sign ordinance is very restrictive,' said Jennifer Ball, vice president of planning and economic development for CAP. But, she said, in the past the city once had more bright signs, such as the neon Coca-Cola sign on downtown's Olympia building.
The new legislation would drop restrictions, such as height limits, and also allow for new technology, such as light projection to decorate empty building walls."
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