Downtown McDonough to get new street lighting

By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent

A new public works project is expected to help residents, business owners and visitors to downtown McDonough make their way around after dark.

The city has been working with Georgia Power for several months on a plan to install streetlights on the south side of the downtown area. City officials announced last week that 13 new lights will be going up in the next few weeks.

The 250-watt lights will be attached to existing poles, according to a statement from the city, and be installed along Griffin Street and Macon Street south of the square.

The new lighting on both streets will extend from Sloan Street on the north to the McDonough First United Methodist Church on the south.

“The lights will provide for greater ease of mobility for foot traffic as more residents take to the sidewalks for both enjoyment and exercise,” according to a city spokesperson, who added that the safety factor will be increased after dark.

In addition to the new streetlights, parking spaces along Griffin Street and Macon Street in the installation area will be restriped perpendicular to the sidewalks, the city reported.

“Projects that make for a safer and more enjoyable community lifestyle are always high on our priority list,” said Public Works Director Ronnie Thompson.

Perhaps the most obvious beneficiaries will be those who operate and patronize the restaurants on and around the square which are seeing more nighttime activity, as well as two large churches within the installation area - First UMC and First Baptist Church.

“It always seems that there is an issue with downtown parking and traffic,” said Kirby G’s co-owner Neil Daniell, who also is president of the city’s business association. “But we do have a lot of parking spaces - more than people realize.”

Because many of them in the area slated for new streetlights cannot be seen at night, many patrons of downtown businesses don’t even know they are there, he said.

Daniell said the lights will be a big help in that regard for customers and also for employees of restaurants around the square who often have to walk back to their cars late at night after work.

City officials, including some council members, have been taking a more active role of late in the concerns of the business community by attending the business association’s meetings and talking with merchants on a regular basis.

"We're trying to communicate with each other and make it a better place,” he said, “so people have a better experience when they come downtown."

Georgia Power officials stated that the project is expected to be complete by mid-August.