(HELENA) Leaders with the city of Helena and the Helena Business Improvement District are again planning an alternate way to light up the historic fire tower for the holiday season.

For the second year in a row, crews aren’t able to hang holiday lights on the tower, as they traditionally do. Leaders say it’s not safe for workers to climb on the structure, after a suspicious fire last year damaged several of its support beams.

Instead, the city and the BID plan to turn on high-intensity floodlights to illuminate the tower at the end of Parade of Lights on Friday evening.

Last year, they used colored lights to illuminate the tower for the holidays. But leaders say those lights weren’t bright enough to make a satisfying finale for the parade.

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“It should be a lot more dramatic this year than it was last year,” said Cindy Stevens, project manager for the Helena BID.

Stevens said the floodlights will remain on for just an hour or so. After that, they again plan to leave colored lights shining on the tower throughout the holidays.

“We’re mindful of the fact that people live in the background of that,” she said.

Leaders also considered other options, including putting lights on trees along the parade route. But Stevens said there wasn’t enough time to set up the power needed to make that happen.

“We’re trying to find a new tradition to have until we can light the Fire Tower again,” she said.

City officials have been working for several months to come up with a plan for restoring the tower. City Manager Ron Alles says they could finalize their proposal by the end of the year.

This year’s Parade of Lights is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday. Floats and other participants will stage around the intersection of Fuller and Placer Avenues. The parade will run along Last Chance Gulch to the Lewis and Clark Library.

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