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Downtown Atlanta eyes Times Square vibe with signage proposal

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Massive district could be lit up in time for the 2019 Super Bowl

Times Square in New York is iconic, lit by flashing signs and sparkling lights throughout the night. And if Central Atlanta Progress gets its way, Atlanta could soon have a much larger district that similarly glows in places.

According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, a new ordinance was proposed in the city to loosen signage restrictions in the “Atlanta Arts and Entertainment District” — basically all of downtown. The new rules would abolish current height limits on signage and allow for the use of new technology including light projections on blank walls.

The ambition would be to enliven downtown through the use of lights and signage, focusing heavily on sports and entertainment venues. However, unlike Times Square — which is a relatively contained district — the Atlanta Arts and Entertainment District covers a wide swath of downtown, from the Georgia World Congress Center in the west to Piedmont Avenue in the east, and Ivan Allen, Jr. Boulevard in the north to Underground Atlanta in the South.

By choosing to not concentrate the district, the city measure could potentially cause widespread light pollution and energy waste, an ironic byproduct in the midst of the Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge.

But hey, if it’s good enough for New York, it’s good enough for Atlanta... right?

The goal would be to have lights up in time for the Super Bowl in 2019. While downtown residents and hotel guests might not be happy about the extra light, Georgia Power should be thrilled.