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10th, 11th streets to get new café lights

Some streets on the east side of the Square will soon be lit up at night to make the areas more visible on security cameras – and it will be pretty.

The Oxford Board of Aldermen voted Monday during a public work session to spend up to $10,000 on new European cafe’-styled string lights for parts of 10th and 11th streets.

Mayor Robyn Tannehill said there are areas on those streets that are too dark for local law enforcement to see faces clearly on security cameras and due to the darkness, can be unsafe for late-night Square visitors.

“When there isn’t enough lighting, the cameras switch to black and white rather than being in color as well,” Tannehill said.

Having the cameras record in color help police identify the color of a vehicle or clothing worn by people, which could make it easier to identify a possible suspect.

Tannehill suggested using the cafe’ lights that would be strung up on poles and zigzagged across the streets.

“We talked about ways to light those areas that are aesthetically pleasing, but effective,” Tannehill said. “The cafe’ lighting provides light but doesn’t light up the area like a football field.”

Greg Pinion, superintendent of the Buildings and Grounds Department, said the lights would be strung on existing power poles with the addition of two new poles.

“They would be removable if they ever needed to be taken down,” he said.

The lights are estimated to cost about $7,000 for the two streets, and the two poles would cost about $3,000.

Tannehill said the city is ordering two samples of the string lights, both in LED and regular bulbs, to see which would look better.

Alderman Janice Antonow said LED lights would require less maintenance; however, Tannehill said the LED could sometimes be too bright and appear too “blue.”

“However, we’ll look at both before we invest $10,000 on lights to see which will work best,” Tannehill said.

The lights would be set on an automatic timer to come on just before sundown and turn off just before sunrise.