DDA brings twinkle lights to Centennial Park
By James Hanlon
Leader Staff Writer
Downtown Oxford’s Centennial Park is alight. The Downtown Development Authority approved a $6,030 project to light up the park, at its June 21 board meeting.
The DDA hired Excel Cleaning Bros. to install about 475 feet of commercial patio lights in Centennial Park, attached from below the flagpole and strung to the tops of five different lamp posts and the clock. The project includes another 100 feet of lights in the alleyway between the Covered Wagon Saddlery and Caveman & Pip across Washington St. from the park. Excel set the lights up the evening of July 10.
“They are plastic bulbs, so they are very safe,” said DDA Executive Director Kelly Westbrook.
The lights are set on a timer to go on every night, year-round, for a two-year agreement with Excel. The lights should not interfere with the tree lighting at Christmastime because of how they are spaced, Westbrook said.
The DDA had discussed the project in the past, but it had not been followed through. The DDA’s design committee recently brought the proposal up again for approval.
Last December, Oxford Village and the Oxford Chamber of Commerce worked with Excel Cleaning Bros. to light up the Larry Obrecht Bridge over M-24 for the holidays. The positive response of that project led to discussions of leaving the bridge illuminated year-round.
Beyond the bridge, the DDA is looking into a larger project that would string lights in a line along the rooftops of all downtown buildings on either side of Washington St. “It would follow the contour of the buildings, so you would get that skyline effect,” Westbrook said when she addressed the topic at the April 19 meeting.
Just like the bridge, the lights would be white LED bulbs spaced 15 inches apart. Excel gave an estimate of $15,000 for two years.
Westbrook described “how nice that would be, maybe slow down some traffic going through downtown, but also the feeling it gives you when you drive into an area that’s well-lit, with the music going this year, we’re going to attract a lot of people.”
“Personally, I like the idea,” said DDA Board Vice Chair Rod Charles. “I think it would be a great impact downtown as people come through. . . . I think the town would really pop. Now that we’re done with the M-24 project, this stuff would really stand out.”
The project needs approval from all building and business owners, to avoid lighting gaps.