Commission considering light show

ELKINS — The Randolph County Commission is discussing the possibility of purchasing a permanent light show to increase tourism during the holiday season.

“As far as I know, we would be the first in the state of West Virginia to do this,” said Commission President Mark Scott.

“We’ve had a lot of inquires from business owners in the city of Elkins as to the fact that 80,000 visitors come to ride the Polar Express every year, and none of them have a reason to cross the street to go into the downtown area. A light show that would have lasers shooting straight into the sky and then having a (musically) synchronized light show on the front of the courthouse would obviously give people a reason to come through the town,” said Scott.

Scott wishes to model the light show after the one in Cambridge, Ohio, which “receives a tremendous amount of visitors into the town every year who come for the show” according to officials. Footage of the Cambridge light show can be viewed on YouTube.

The show would be paid for using funds from the county hotel-motel tax, which can be used for tourism.

“This isn’t a one time light show. These are permanent features that we would own that would be used year after year,” Scott said. The show would consist of 50 RGB wash lights and would include a DMC receiver.

The commission president said the 10-to-15 minute light show could run on the hour, perhaps “at six, seven and eight o’clock at night, so the final show would be over by 8:15, as to not disturb the neighborhood.”

A proposal from Jolt Lighting, a company specializing in immersive light displays and the turn-key installation of those displays, stated that the total cost for the necessary equipment and the estimated 280 hours of programming would be $55,989.50.

“Because of the price, we do have to put (the project) out to bid,” said Scott.

“That would be another piece of the tourism puzzle for Randolph County that people would come here,” said Scott.

Commissioners tabled further discussion of the light show proposal until a later meeting.