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GE Forum raises 10k for bridge lighting

The Projects Committee of the Glen Ellen Forum successfully raised over $10,000 in less than 36 hours to fund lighting for the Jim Berkland Bridge on Arnold Drive for the 2020 holiday season. The donations for the lighting came from individual donations both large and small, as well as $1,000 from the Sonoma County Community Investment Fund Program authorized by 1st District Supervisor Susan Gorin. In December of 2017 and 2018, PG& E funded dramatic lighting that covered the entire bridge, but declined to fund lighting for 2019. Instead, the GE Forum Projects Committee installed garland style solar lights that certainly brought holiday cheer, but weren’t quite as spectacular. For 2020, the committee explored several options at different price points ranging from solar lights or can lights to the professional lighting. They knew they would find a way to light the bridge, they just weren’t sure how much funding they would have.

They were thrilled that so many members of the community enthusiastically stepped up to contribute and they reached their ultimate fund-raising goal. Many of the donations were accompanied by notes of sincere gratitude for having something to look forward to in 2020. The Committee is also exploring options to install permanent celebratory lighting on the bridge for future years, but that will take quite a bit of research. The money raised this year will be used to hire a professional lighting contractor and rent equipment to recreate the lighting of the bridge for 2020. Look for the lights to go up the second week of December and stay up for 30 days. The bridge that dates back to around 1931 is named after the late Jim Berkland (1930-2016), a well-known Glen Ellen resident. The old truss bridge spanning Sonoma Creek at the north end of the Sonoma Developmental Center property was saved from demolition by Berkland in 1998, after he successfully campaigned to keep it from being replaced by something more generic and not representative of the history of the Valley of the Moon. Berkland, a geologist, is famous for controversially predicting the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake.