Multicolored lights will offer an artistic surprise to visitors along the Charlotte Rail Trail, thanks to a new collaboration between Charlotte Center City Partners and Duke Energy.

Beginning tonight, the Duke Energy substation adjacent to the Bland Street light rail station and the nearby Beasley Broadcasting radio transmission tower will be lit with 12 LED floodlights, which are similar to those atop the Duke Energy Center. The lights have a full 360-degree rotation and a high lumen output of 8,500, similar to the output of outdoor parking lot lighting. The lights can display 16,000 different colors and have 13 programmable scenes that will change regularly to celebrate holidays, special events and more. The lights are scheduled to turn on daily from 5:30 a.m. until sunrise, from dusk until midnight Sunday through Thursday and from dusk until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. This is the first major initiative in a series of public art and improvement projects along the Rail Trail during the next six months.

“Our vision is for the Rail Trail to be a zipper that connects people and neighborhoods,” said Cheryl V. Myers, Senior Vice President for Planning and Development at Charlotte Center City Partners. “This project represents the type of unique experiences we plan to curate across the length of the Rail Trail and is a remarkable example of what can be accomplished when the private sector and community stakeholders collaborate.”

The Charlotte Rail Trail is a 4.5-mile linear park that runs through 10 different neighborhoods from South End to Uptown. The walkway alongside the LYNX Blue Line already exists, but it could be so much more. With the help of passionate supporters, today’s trail will be transformed into a network of gardens, public art, unique spaces and activities, and an endless string of places to sit, eat and play.

“We are so excited to partner with our community to create an interactive and memorable experience on the Rail Trail,” said Lloyd Yates, Executive Vice President for Market Solutions and Carolinas Region President at Duke Energy. “We’ve seen how Charlotteans have embraced the Rail Trail as a place for fun and are thrilled to join our neighbors to power up this section of the trail.”

The Charlotte Rail Trail was awarded a $412,000 grant from ArtPlace America in 2014 to support creative placemaking, including the development and execution of public art along the proposed trail. Part of the grant funds will be used to support the illumination. Beacon Partners and Historic South End also provided support for this project.

About Charlotte Rail Trail

Charlotte’s Rail Trail is a unique urban experience—a “linear commons” where neighbors and visitors can meet and explore a dynamic and evolving platform for creativity, economy, and recreation. The 4.5 mile trail winds through the heart of Center City Charlotte. The existing asphalt pathway runs adjacent to the LYNX Light Rail Blue Line. It is a unique destination for residents, workers and visitors seeking out unique and unexpected creative experiences. The Rail Trail is a community destination, valued public infrastructure, neighborhood-based retail hub, public art gallery and an urban linear park. For more information, please visit www.charlotterailtrail.org

About Charlotte Center City Partners

Charlotte Center City Partners envisions and implements strategies and actions to drive the economic, social and cultural development of Charlotte’s Center City. The organization envisions a Center City in Charlotte that is viable, livable, memorable, and sustainable, with modern infrastructure, a tapestry of unique neighborhoods, and a diversity of thriving businesses. For more information, please visit www.charlottecentercity.org.

About Duke Energy

Duke Energy is the largest electric power holding company in the United States. Its regulated utility operations serve approximately 7.3 million electric customers located in six states in the Southeast and Midwest, representing a population of approximately 23 million people. Its Commercial Portfolio and International business segments own and operate diverse power generation assets in North America and Latin America, including a growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the United States. Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is a Fortune 250 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com.