Blue light special for Edwards |

Blue light special for Edwards

Geraldine Haldner

They aren’t just blue. In their critics’ eyes, they came out of the blue, as well.

We’re talking about those notorious neon lights that illuminate the new bridge at Miller Ranch Road and U.S. Highway 6 in Edwards.

New with a $4 million price tag, the bridge has become a point of division rather than communal connection. What county planners hoped would be interpreted as a stylish touch has been described as a disgrace to its scenic surroundings by a few critics complaining that the lights cast an eery blue glow onto the neighborhood, disturbing their the pristine night sky.

Do they merely add to light pollution or are they foreshadowing a brave new frontier in public works illumination?

On balance, we like the lights, and public sentiment tilts heavily that way, too. Unexpected as they were to the public, they are in sync with Edwards’ coming-of-age appearance. After all, Edwards has become the bustling hub of the Vail Valley, a center of convenience where tourist-friendly pedestrian zones and faux-Bavarian frills have been left behind in favor of a mix of developments perhaps best described as “urban chic meets ski resort hip.”

Edwards is where Old West meets a new generation of suburban settlers who like their Starbucks close and their wilderness within sight. A place where the oldtime Gashouse meets just that touch of neon.

Amazingly, following a story about the blue lights and a couple of critics panning them a couple of weeks ago, the county government fielded the most calls and e-mails it has received on any issue since the Kobe Byrant rape case broke. That’s more than on Bair Ranch’s budding conservation easement, more than Commissioner Tom Stone’s questionable judgment to go after a fat commission on a private deal through a developer doing business with the county.

While the county is now sorting through 119 e-mail and phone responses to its decision to go blue, it is interesting to note that precious few residents seem to have an issue with a certain leaning glass tower just a bit farther west at new The Corner or the increasingly bolder choices of color schemes at the ever-expanding Riverwalk complex.

Still, the blue glow came as a bit of a shock even for the folks who like them. In hindsight, the county might have taken more care to prepare residents for their appearance ahead of time. How is it that public comment lights up the switchboards only after the bridge went blue?

It takes a village to be bold and progressive – and Edwards, more and more, seems to be that place.

Support Local Journalism