COLUMBIA, Mo. - On Monday night, the Columbia City Council will review a downtown lighting project and decide whether or not to approve an agreement to appropriate funds for it.
The Downtown Community Improvement District is looking at replacing streetlights downtown with newer ones that would be able to brighten and dim. The lights could be programed to brighten around the time bars close to prevent crime and discourage people from forming large groups.
Kurt Mirtsching, manager at Shakespeare's Pizza, said he would support the project if it could benefit public safety.
"Well, enhanced lighting in the downtown area, I don't think it's going to hurt anything at all, and it can only help. And if law enforcement is behind it, thinks it's a good thing that we should try, well, then it probably is a good idea," he said.
He also said many restaurants use a similar tactic already to try and get people to leave the area.
"A lot of restaurants, a couple of our restaurants, will turn up the lights on the inside of the restaurant at closing time to give everybody the hint that, 'Thanks for coming, you don't have to go home, but you can't stay here.' So we do it inside, and if that works outside, then maybe that'll be a good thing," he said.
Six lights have already been installed downtown as part of a pilot program.
If approved, around 100 lights and street poles would be replaced.
If the City Council approves appropriating the funds, the city has agreed to dedicate up to $270,000 of its own funds toward the project, and the downtown CID will be responsible for $30,000.