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New lighting system coming to downtown Macon alleys

The $150,000 system will be donated to Macon-Bibb County once it's complete.

MACON, Ga. — Macon-Bibb County commissioners want to brighten up alleys in downtown Macon with a new lighting system. NewTown Macon says that could mean an economic boost for the area.

NewTown is donating the $150,000 light system to the county. They'll install lights on buildings on Mulberry Street Lane, Cherry Street Lane and First Street Lane. They'll also install lights in a parking lot just off First Street Lane.

NewTown Macon's Vice President of Development, Erin Keller, says the lights are part of an ongoing mission to brighten up downtown Macon. She says adding the lights will help people feel safer as they shop and eat.

"Lighting in any urban district is very important to public safety perception. As well as the longer people stay, the more they feel safer." Keller said. "The longer they stay, the more they spend money, and so it really also drives economic development."

She says when people stay longer, it boosts Macon's economy. Keller says that brings more development, too.

"For a long time Cherry Street was the central street of downtown. Now we've gotten to Poplar. Poplar's vibrant, Plum's vibrant," she said. "So, I think the more development starts to sprawl out, alleyways and the way they're interconnected, those are ways people are preferring to travel around the district."

NewTown Macon has already started ordering parts for the project. Keller says they did hit a snag in production, but that they're hoping to start installation by the end of the year. 

The county estimates the lights will add about $1,085 a month to their electric bill.