Makeover brightens Boathouse Row light show

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The Boathouse Row lights have lit up the Schuylkill River for about four decades now. On Saturday night, the iconic lights switched on once more, but this time in a dazzling display after a total makeover. (WPVI)

The Boathouse Row lights have lit up the Schuylkill River for about four decades now. On Saturday night, the iconic lights switched on once more, but this time in a dazzling display after a total makeover.

The lights were first installed on the 11 rowing clubs on Boathouse Row back in 1979. They were replaced in 2005 with LEDs that were brighter, lasted longer, were energy efficient and were operated through a state-of-the-art computer system. But the years took a toll on the lights and they soon needed to be completely replaced.

The city had no funds for the costly refurbishment, but a private donor stepped up to cover the costs. Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, along with the Fairmount Park Conservancy, organized Saturday's ceremony and celebration with a street festival on Martin Luther King Drive and a brilliant display of the new lighting system at dusk.

"People know that when they drive through Center City and come up the Schuylkill Expressway or Martin Luther King Drive that they're going to see a wonderful sight that has been part of the Philadelphia landscape for 40 years," said Senior Project Director Barry Bessler.

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