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City of Castle Rock’s latest effort to enliven downtown will fill the air with music Saturday — and perhaps every day from now on.

City staff installed a new outdoor sound system covering about six city blocks Tuesday, completing the work just in time for the Festival of Lights, said Dave Vorse, Public Works director.

“We are very excited about what it will mean for our festivals, parades and events. People will be able to have a more pleasurable experience,” Vorse said.

The system, which Vorse believes is the first to be installed in Cowlitz County, broadcasts sound through speakers attached to light poles. Speakers were installed at intersections along Cowlitz Street, First Street and Front Avenue.

“We were hoping we could get it set up for the Festival of Lights, and sure enough we were able to get the vendor to put them up (Tuesday), so it looks like it will all come together,” Vorse said.

City officials say the project has been in the works for about four years and is part of the city’s downtown revitalization effort.

“I think this just continues on the work we did with redoing the streets, the sidewalks and the lights,” said Mayor Paul Helenberg. “Castle Rock is pretty dependent on tourism ... so we are hoping to make it a more friendly place downtown.”

The system and installation cost about $13,000, Vorse said, and was paid for by the city. The project was funded by Cowlitz County tourism grant and the proceeds from selling the city’s exhibit hall, Helenberg said.

In addition to the Festival of Lights, the city plans to use the sound system for other downtown events. The system can also be used to broadcast school band and choir concerts, Vorse said.

Helenberg added that he envisions a daily use for the new speakers.

“If it works out the way we planned, we will probably have music seven days a week between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., and hopefully we will have announcements every so often throughout the day of upcoming events,” Helenberg said.

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