Wake County

Fifteen years and $200,000 later, Nash Square treetops dark again

The city of Raleigh in 1999 installed lights in the trees of Nash Square. Today they’re dark.
The city of Raleigh in 1999 installed lights in the trees of Nash Square. Today they’re dark. Archive photo

Visitors to Nash Square may notice that many of the downtown park’s trees are hung with large lights. On Tuesday, one curious Twitter user decided to find out why.

“Why are they never on?” user @ashtonmae asked the city of Raleigh. Council members Bonner Gaylord and Mary-Ann Baldwin promised an answer, which arrived Thursday.

As the government account explained, the city installed the lights 15 years ago, with some help from The News & Observer’s founding family.

Frank Daniels Jr. and his wife, Julia, put $100,000 toward the project, while the city kicked in $50,000 for the set of 108 lights, according to articles from The News & Observer. The total project cost was $200,000; the articles don’t make clear where the rest of the money came from.

Fifteen years later, the treetops are dark, but the topic again saw the light of day. A repair or replacement would cost between $80,000 and $100,000, the city tweeted.

Well, maybe it’s time to start a fundraiser, @ashtonmae suggested.

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