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Downtown gets a little brighter
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Downtown Covington is shining a little more after the installation of new lights around the square.

Bill Meecham, utility director for the city of Covington, said old, high-pressured sodium bulb street lights were replaced with metal halide lights in October.

The new metal halide street lights downtown cost $31,717 for the light fixtures plus about $2,000 in other materials such as bulbs and paint to refinish the poles. Labor was provided by the city's electric crews.

Meecham said the 250 watt metal halide fixtures replaced the old 150 watt high-pressured sodium lights, which were installed in 1993-1994.

He said some of the globes had yellowed to the extent that much of the light never made it to the street.

"The old ones put out a sort of a yellow light; that's what seemed to be the preference of the public at that time in the early mid-90s," Meecham said. "But the subsequent of that was that the globes and the lights deteriorated and had a lot of wear and tear."
He said after some discussion between the downtown merchants, the mayor and the city's staff, a decision was made to install new lights. The council approved for the utility department to purchase new lighting in June. The replacement of the lights was the result of collaborative action and inclusion in the city's strategic plan by the mayor and the council, Main Street and city staff.

Meecham explained that the lights aren't the type you buy from a store and that they had to be ordered by a local supplier and the lights had to be made and manufactured.

"We reused the same poles that were there and we repainted them and they cleaned them up and fixed them," Meecham said. "It's the same type of lighting that is typically used for ball fields except certainly on a smaller scale. It gives out a nice white light."
Meecham said the replacement of the lights has been a concern for Main Street and downtown merchants for some time.

Main Street recently purchased new downtown decorations and additional decorations, such as the lights in the tree canopy, were given to the city following the "The Vampire Diaries" filming of their Christmas program. Meecham said these decorations were all installed by the city's street department and help added more lighting, which he said helps make the city feel safer.

"We want people to feel safe when they are downtown because a few places are open at night. You've got several places that are open at night, RL's, Amici's, Bradley's BBQ and one or two more and those tend to have night time business. [It] certainly helps people feel safe when they go to those businesses."