Downtown light, sign work started

Published 5:00 am Thursday, October 9, 2008

Brookhaven residents will soon see downtown in a differentlight.

Under a lighting and signage grant and an agreement betweenEntergy and the city, new lights are being installed up and downWhitworth and Railroad avenues, in order to update and upgrade theaesthetic value of the downtown area.

Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce Executive VicePresident Cliff Brumfield said the lighting project, which beganWednesday, will be done by the end of the month.

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Brumfield said the additional downtown lighting will beinstalled in Railroad Park down to the Depot, as well as onWhitworth Avenue. After working with engineers to figure out thebest way to go about putting more attractive, more uniform streetlights in the downtown area, officials came up with a plan and putit into action.

“The city had envisioned some years ago adding historic-looking,more attractive lights in the downtown business district that wouldnot only illuminate the area for the residents, but that would alsobe visually pleasing during the daytime and add to the warmth andappeal of our downtown area,” Brumfield said.

Brumfield said the newer, more attractive lights will replaceother older lights, giving downtown lighting uniform heights andcolors. They will also be engineered so as not to cause a glareinto the upper floors of buildings, which will benefit those nowliving in second-floor apartments in the area.

B&B Electric of Brandon is handling the contract work forEntergy, and crew members said workers are laying the initialwiring. Poles and lights will be going in once the preliminaryelectrical work is done.

In addition to the Railroad Park lights, the lighting andsignage grant will go to make other downtown business district arealights more homogenous. Brumfield said that part of the project isnot under way yet, but will be in the near future.

“We’ll be making changes and improvements to the existing cobrahead lights, because we currently have several different lights inplace,” Brumfield said. “We’ll be replacing the older ones to makethem uniform downtown, and to get rid of some poles and lines thatare not needed, which will reduce the overhead clutter.”

Entergy Customer Accounts Manager Kenny Goza said the agreementbetween the city and Entergy means the city will own the lights,but pay Entergy a fee to maintain them.

“We’ll do the maintenance, and things like having the materialson hand to repair them,” Goza said. “They’re paying us a leasemaintenance charge and the electrical costs.”

Workers from B&B will be in the downtown area until theproject is complete, Goza said.

In addition to the lighting, officials said electricity will beadded in Railroad Park, beefing up the system for events such asthe Ole Brook Festival. That part of the additions will take placein the next few months, Goza said.

“We’ll be adding some electricity into Railroad Park later on atthe first of the year that would accommodate events like Ole Brook,or anything in the park, really,” Goza said.

Brumfield said money left over after the lighting project iscompleted will go toward additional signage.