City leaders delay vote on downtown lighting - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

City leaders delay vote on downtown lighting

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - Maribel Santoyo and her 7-year-old daughter spend a lot of time in Coolidge Park now that new lights have been installed.

"Before it used to be dark, and we didn't come out when it was dark," said Santoyo, "we thought it wasn't safe."

The energy saving lights were installed last August, and seem to be cutting crime.

"We know that we're not sending our police and labor force down there like we were," said City Council Chairwoman Pam Ladd.

The city is also saving 80 percent of what it was paying to light Coolidge Park.

Now city leaders are considering hiring a local company, Global Green Lighting, to light the entire downtown area.

The project is well over the city's budget, with an $18 million price tag, but stands to save the city $2 million annually.

"The cost of that debt compared to what you save, we come out ahead," said Councilman Peter Murphy, "and we can pay back the debt with money we're essentially already spending on electricity."

"A more conservative approach may be to wait for some of that savings to accumulate and then buy another section of lighting," said Ladd.

Either way, Maribel Santoyo looks forward to brighter, safer downtown.

"We walk around there so it would be awesome," she said.

The city council delayed their vote on the lighting plan until next week.

Next Tuesday members will meet with public works and public safety officials to discuss where the lights should go, and how to fund them.

Stay with Channel 3 for more on this story.

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