As the saying goes, what’s old is new again. That sentiment could certainly be used to describe the latest in a series of upgrades planned for Spanish Plaza Park downtown.
The Architectural Review Board is set to debate plans presented by the city to replace the gas lights currently at the park with LED bulbs that are made to look like their flickering predecessors.
City spokesperson Jason Johnson said the plan is to replace all 18 lights, as up to five aren’t functional and others were damaged by Hurricane Sally.
“We wanted to increase visibility, but keep the historic character of the park,” he said.
While the new lights will be brighter, Johnson said, they won’t be as bright as traditional LED lights.
The light replacement is part of a series of upgrades at the park, Johnson said. The city is looking to replace all the flagpoles there as well and add lighting to the fountain, which will give it the ability to change colors, like the ones atop the RSA Tower.
Marie Dyson, president of the Church Street East Neighborhood Association, said residents are currently reviewing the plans, but she doesn’t see any issues with moving forward with the new lights.
“It’s part of an ongoing restoration of Spanish Plaza,” she said. “They’ve already replaced bricks and the tile.”
Dyson agreed the lights in question will look like gas lights, but will emit a low-level LED light instead. The lights will also be 18 inches higher.
“They want to keep the historic look, but it’s going to be more efficient,” she said. “It’s also going to provide more lighting.”
While it’s still too early to predict if residents will have issues with the project until everyone reviews the plans, Dyson said it seems like a good idea.
“I think most people are happy with getting better lighting,” she said. “It’s going to go along with the character of the neighborhood and it’s going to look like gas lighting. It’s going to look better and it’s going to be functional.”
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