Kerry McCormack, city Councilman urged the city on Wednesday to employ other smart technology as it prepares to replace its streetlights with modern LED lighting.
At a meeting of council’s Utilities Committee, McCormack suggested that the city provide WiFi that would open unserved areas to Internet access and install sensors that could detect gunshots and alert police.
McCormack, whose Ward 3 includes downtown, Ohio City, and Tremont, made the remarks as the committee considered and eventually approved Mayor Frank Jackson’s plans for upgrading street lights.
Jackson wants to replace all 61,000 of Cleveland’s streetlights with LED lighting and mount hundreds of security cameras on the polls to improve safety around recreation centers and on streets.
The effort, dubbed the Safe Smart CLE Initiative, will enable police to brighten lights in trouble spots and monitor camera-covered areas in real time. The new lights will also alert the city when they malfunction.
Lights will be equipped with controls that will allow the city increase or decrease the brightness remotely so officers in district police stations and at headquarters can make better identifications of people in trouble spots.
“To me, it’s a great plan,” McCormack said. The LED lights are more efficient than the incandescent lights used now, are better for the environment and will save the city money because they use less electricity and last longer.
“The city needs to pay attention to other technologies as well”, said McCormack.
City Council already has approved borrowing money for the lighting project. The ordinance approved by the Utilities Committee would allow the work to proceed. City Council could give the allowance final approval before beginning its summer recess in early June.
Once council acts, Utilities Director Robert Davis said, upgrading the lights will take about 18 months. The city also plans to remove old, unused light poles.
The estimated cost of the installation is $25 million.