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Leadership Council discusses upgrading street lighting downtown

Downtown Columbia leaders and city workers are hoping to upgrade the district’s street lights to improve safety.

On Tuesday, the Downtown Street Lighting Project was introduced to the Downtown Leadership Council to replace up to one hundred street lights with more efficient LED lights.

In September, Ryan Williams, assistant utilities director for the city’s Water & Light Department, explained that one of the upgrades would adjust lighting at different times. For example, streetlights would be put on full power when bars and restaurants close in the early morning hours.

Right now, the project would focus on lights near bars on Broadway and 7th Street.

“We have such a strong downtown economy,” said Katie Essing, the executive director of the Downtown Columbia Improvement District (CID). “We have so many people come in, so many bars, restaurants, entertainment venues, and this lighting is just one element that can increase safety.”

Essing is working with Williams on the project. The funding of the project is not set just yet, but Williams wrote in September that both the city and the CID would help pay the bill.

The cost of each light could be between $3,500-$4,500.

The Water and Light Advisory Board are expected to discuss the project, but it will be up to city council to either approve or deny it.

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