Fourth Ave. & Washington

Stopped. Watched. icon

Mounted on a light pole out of reach for regular-height people is what I would describe as a whirly-gig, which is really getting a workout in the gusting winds today (Christmas Day). It has blinky lights that are apparently powered by the whirling action – they go out when it stops spinning. The label describing it was not totally readable to me given the angle, the fading daylight and my old man eyes, but I think I could make out “experimental public art” and “Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority.” Also a warning about a GPS tracking device (in case someone was thinking of stealing it). [photo]

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  1. December 26, 2011 at 11:07 pm | permalink

    I noticed a similar device on the metal railing of the surface lot at William and Main.

  2. December 27, 2011 at 4:12 am | permalink

    There is also one whirling away above the crowds at the corner of Main and Liberty near the Selo/Shevel Store & Gallery. I couldn’t read the label, either.

  3. December 27, 2011 at 11:53 am | permalink

    A call to the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority led me to a consultant who’s working with the inventor to install them at different places around town (not just the downtown). The idea is just to install them and see if people notice, to help raise awareness of wind power and LED lighting technology. They were also described “nothing but fun.” Consultant time and the devices are donated, so there’s no cost to the city or the DDA.

  4. December 27, 2011 at 11:58 am | permalink

    Are these a potential hazard to birds?

  5. December 27, 2011 at 12:08 pm | permalink

    > no cost to the city

    What would it cost if I wanted to rent a light pole for a similar purpose? Would I need a sign permit?

  6. By Dan
    January 5, 2012 at 1:59 am | permalink


    More power to them!

    I believe that windpower needs to be re-branded as fun and cool anyhow, so hopefully this will be a good start.

    I hope they are permanent.

  7. By Katie
    January 5, 2012 at 10:01 pm | permalink

    I saw these and was curious as to whether or not that the turbine was actually powering the light pole. Cool both as public art, and to raise awareness of alternative energy, but I would like to see them try something functional as well!