Phil Herritt got out of his car, walked toward the light, took a pic, shared it on Linkedin—and plugged into an instant community of other people in Edmonton who love a little light at this time of year, too.
“It had 193 reactions and almost 10,000 views,” said Herritt. “For me, it was overwhelming. I never expected that and I wrote it in a rush so I wish I would have thought through what I was going to write.”
Herritt is the Director of Infrastructure Operations for the City of Edmonton. The light that captured him that dark morning in November was the light from trees lit by City crews on Fort Road near the Station Pointe land.
See the positive
Herritt wrote: “We are all facing challenges and it can be easy to focus on the negative, but take a second and see the positive.”
And then: “I drive through this area everyday on the way to work and today I realized just how much I look forward to this part of the drive.”
The Fort Road trees are just some of the trees cared for by the team Herritt serves. There are also the lights in the trees at Ezio Faraone Park near the High Level Bridge.
The lights in Giovanni Caboto Park in Little Italy.
And the lights on 107 Avenue.
In all the City strings over 1,500 trees with lights.
Low wattage LEDs
The City lights its trees with low wattage LEDs. A full-sized, mature elm strung with lights uses less electricity than a conventional 60 watt light bulb. Photocells and timers are also used to reduce energy consumption during non-essential hours of the day throughout the year.
Lights accomplish a lot. They dent a bit of dark. They beautify. They inspire. They encourage residents to spend time outside at night, resulting in safer, more vibrant spaces. That’s good for Business Improvement Areas, too.
Herritt knows that light in trees won’t fix all the blah that is out there in these COVID times. He just knows the bit of a boost it gave him that morning in the northeast end.
“I was feeling kinda blah,” Herritt said. “But as I drove past Kathleen Andrews Transit Garage I realized, a little bit, that I was perking up because I knew the lighted section of Fort Road was coming up.”
And Herritt knows the crews who put lights in the trees are not the only ones who are doing what they can.
“Thank you to all those helping us through these times,” he said.
Editor’s notes: The pic at the top of the post is courtesy Phil Herritt. It’s the one he posted to his Linkedin page. If you’d like to see decorative lights on a tree near you in the future, check out the application process on the City’s website. While we’re talking lights, the Fort Edmonton Park Foundation is also talking lights. They’re raising money to light the midway at Fort Edmonton Park.