LETA hopes to add new lights to downtown Lawton

LETA hopes to add new lights to downtown Lawton

LAWTON, OK (TNN) - Parts of downtown Lawton may soon be a little brighter. Lawton Enhancement Trust Authority plans on installing some special lights in hopes of encouraging people to come to the downtown area at night. The lights they plan are putting up are going to be string lights that can change colors. They'll be strung from light poles down C Avenue from 2nd street to 7th street and eventually down 2nd street to Elmer Thomas Park.

LETA chairman Jay Burk said this is something it's he's been thinking about doing for years.

"This is really going to change the look of our downtown," Burk said.

He said over the past few years he's had multiple people talk to him about it. He says studies have shown that downtown Lawton needs to be revitalized.

"At night, the downtown basically becomes empty and so how do we bring it back downtown? Other cities are doing it to get people to come back to their downtowns and spend time there in the evenings," he said.

The lights can change colors. So, they could make it red, white and blue for Independence Day or Red and Green for Christmas but he said the lights will be set to white most of the time.

It cost around $24,000 a block to buy the lights, get the light poles ready, and get them strung. The existing lights on the light poles will be taken down, and the new lights will be strung from pole to pole.

"They are held by a big metal cable, so it's not where they'll be swinging back and forwards, and they're industrial type lighting," Burk said. "So it's made to be up year around."

Right now, LETA's goal is to do it a block at a time because of the cost.

"So, we want to get buy-in from the downtown business," Burk said. "And we've already heard from a lot of them that say 'yes, we will buy-in, we want to be a part of that.' At time same time, its cost-prohibitive to do them all. If LETA had the money, we'd do the whole thing."

Burk said adding these lights says something about the city.

"It just says 'we care and we're still down here, and our downtown doesn't close at dark, he said.'"

But before they can put up the lights, the Lawton City Council will have to approve it. He hopes to have the first two blocks done in May or June. If you'd like to donate, Burk said people should contact the City Clerk's office to make a donation to LETA.

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