By William C. Singleton III
Motorists traveling U.S. 31 into Vestavia Hills from Homewood were greeted by blue lights illuminating the night sky recently.
From Sept. 24-Oct. 1, the city illuminated Sibyl Temple, a popular Vestavia Hills landmark, with blue lights to promote safety on public roadways.
The promotion was part of the city’s National Night Out observance, which was held Oct. 1 at Vestavia Hills United Methodist Church.
National Night Out is an annual community event sponsored by police departments nationwide to raise awareness about police and fire department programs and public safety issues such as drug and crime prevention and traffic safety.
This year, Vestavia police launched an initiative called “Operation Blue Shield” to bring attention to traffic safety and to pay respect to those who have lost their lives on public roadways.
“The message we’re sending is that when you’re on the road, you can prevent blue lights (police lights),” said Vestavia Hills Police Sgt. Brian Gilham. “By obeying traffic laws and driving defensively, you can prevent citations and accidents.”
The police department worked with city officials and the Sibyl Temple Foundation to display the blue lights.
Usually, the Temple is illuminated at night with standard white lights. However, to create the blue light effect, the lights set at the base of the Temple and shining upward were covered with blue sheets of Mylar.
“It didn’t cost us a lot to do it. It’s easily replaceable, and it’s easy to install,” Gilham said.
Though the blue lights were scheduled to be removed after National Night Out, Gilham said he hopes the blue lights can become a regular tribute.
“In the future, we hope to utilize it for days of remembrance and reflection,” he said. “Hopefully, we can partner with the Sibyl Temple Foundation and utilize it to bring awareness to any traffic fatality that may occur on the roadways.”
Vestavia Hills Mayor Alberto “Butch” Zaragoza said the blue light tribute was a good way to highlight public safety and the city’s popular landmark.
“I really think it makes the Temple stand out,” he said.