(Fred Lynch) [Order this photo]
"We're glad to have gotten the job done before Christmas," said D.W. Presley, president of the Bald Knob Cross Board of Directors. "It's been a lot of work."
Presley said the drive to restore lights at Bald Knob Cross began in 2010 and involved fundraising that remained consistent even during tough economic times.
"The cost of the lights and a new electrical infrastructure at the cross came to about $80,000, and we're incredibly grateful for the financial support we received," he said. "But that amount doesn't include the donations of time, labor and equipment offered to us for their installation. We couldn't have made it without that."
"I'd say they'll be anywhere from 60 to 70 percent cheaper to operate than the old lights," Presley said. "They were more expensive up front, but they'll be less expensive over time."
The lights also will be mounted on poles around Bald Knob Cross in order to deter vandals.
"The stadium lights we used to have were on the ground," said Presley. "They were often vandalized and it was frustrating to deal with the problem. With the lights on poles, the board feels there'll be less of a vandalism problem."
The 111-foot-high Bald Knob Cross was erected in 1963. A fundraising effort by the board of directors in 2008 raised about $550,000 to replace the dilapidated panels of the cross, a project that was completed in 2010.
"The project to get the lights up brought a lot of people together," he said. "I think there will be an even bigger feeling of togetherness at the ceremony when the lights go on."
The pre-lighting ceremony is scheduled for 5 p.m. near the foot of the cross, and the lights will be turned on at 5:30 p.m.
3630 Bald Knob Road, Alto Pass, Ill.