South Sound Together is all aglow at the prospect of a brighter Tacoma — literally. Light Up Tacoma, a work group including members of the city’s Economic Development Committee, aims to illuminate downtown, raising its visibility and encouraging a vibrant nighttime scene.

The goal is a brighter and more beautiful city, particularly in the main downtown corridor from the Stadium District to the Tacoma Dome. With help from Tacoma agency Rotator Creative, the group has been studying the possibilities.

Lighting a city to best advantage — known to attract visitors and discourage vandalism — is a strategy that’s been used effectively from London to Hong Kong and in some spots right here in T-Town. Light Up Tacoma envisions heightening the visual effects, showcasing such landmarks as the cable stay bridge and the Washington State History Museum and highlighting architectural features. And the group aims to develop a unified plan for a harmonious cityscape, with a color palette focused on blue lights, which are relatively subtle and keep light pollution to a minimum.

Transformative lighting need not be expensive, the group has found. One example: strip lighting for the Grand on Broadway cost just over $5,000 plus installation. The lights are energy efficient LEDs, so the annual cost to power them is low.

We’d love to see South Sound in the spotlight, so to speak.

Do you know of a project that is working to improve the South Sound? We want to hear about it, send us an email at

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