The White River dam at Echo Lake takes on an other-worldly glow on Feb. 27 in a preview of a new lighting system that will illuminate the dam in a variety of colors. The project was financed by Bobbie Wagner as a gift to the community and a tribute to her late husband, Dick, who conceived the idea. (Photo by Ed Nadolski)

The White River dam at Echo Lake takes on an other-worldly glow on Feb. 27 in a preview of a new lighting system that will illuminate the dam in a variety of colors. The project was financed by Bobbie Wagner as a gift to the community and a tribute to her late husband, Dick, who conceived the idea. (Photo by Ed Nadolski)

By Ed Nadolski

Editor in Chief

That glow you will soon see coming from the Echo Lake Dam on the White River in downtown Burlington is a gift and a tribute wrapped in one.

The gift, brought to you in part by the Burlington Community Fund, is an attempt to further enhance the beauty of the area surrounding Veterans Terrace and Echo Lake Park.

The tribute is a memorial to the late Dick Wagner, the man who conceived and championed the dam-lighting project, but didn’t have the chance to see it through.

For both of these, the community can thank Bobbie Wagner, Dick’s wife, and the surviving half of the couple that was the driving force behind the Veterans Terrace project.

If all goes according to plan, Bobbie Wagner and other organizers will throw the switch late this week on an array of lights that will bathe the dam in a variety of colored hues – a brilliant palette projected on snow and ice in the winter and soothing shimmer reflected off tumbling water in the summer.

“The whole thing is really meant for the community,” Bobbie Wagner said Tuesday. “Hopefully people driving by (on Milwaukee Avenue) will see this and smile.”

Although she did her best to deflect the credit for the project, Wagner did admit that she’ll likely be the one with the biggest smile.

That’s because she knows those lights will complete her late husband’s vision for the area.

“All he ever said (once Veterans Terrace was completed) was, ‘We need to light up the dam,’” she said.

Dick Wagner, who died of a heart attack on New Year’s Day 2012, never got that chance.

However, with financial backing from Bobbie Wagner and the support of the Burlington Community Fund – the philanthropic organization that funnels proceeds from the operation of Veterans Terrace back to the community – Dick Wagner’s vision has been realized.

Members of the Burlington business community got a sneak peak at the lighted dam last Thursday at a Business After Hours event at Veterans Terrace hosted by the Burlington Area Chamber of Commerce and the Burlington Rotary Club.

Project electrician Chris Weidert said the lights could be up and running for good today. Those involved in the dam lighting – including Wagner, Weidert, architect Tom Stelling, and Veterans Terrace General Manager Bill Smitz – were scheduled to meet with representatives from Enterprise Lighting to wrap up the project Thursday.

Weidert said the group will likely determine programs, or “shows” for the lights. He said it’s possible to program the lights to shine in different colors on different days and times to match seasons, holidays and special events.

Comments

comments