New Acacia Park lights have dimmer switch - and brighter switch

February 25, 2014 Updated: February 25, 2014 at 8:24 pm

Nighttime could look like daytime in downtown Colorado Springs with a new high-tech lighting system that became operational Tuesday.

City officials flipped the switch on new LED lights along one side of Acacia Park, and along Tejon Street from Colorado Avenue to Boulder Street. The lights allow police to dial up or dial down the brightness.

The lights, called light-emitting diodes, can be set on a daily schedule to provide more lighting when needed and less light when traffic is at a minimum.

"During nighttime issues when we can't get officers here readily, we're going to turn the lights on, make sure we know what we're driving into," said Colorado Springs Police Chief Pete Carey. "It's going to enhance the public safety cameras so that we can actually see a little bit better with the cameras, and actually use the cameras to patrol at nighttime until our officers get down here. It will actually enhance our public safety."

Carey said the new lights are not attributed to any one particular issue. But there had been concerns about safety in Acacia Park.

In 2012, the city added downtown surveillance cameras and increased police presence in an effort to deter crime.

The new lights downtown were part of a citywide LED street light pilot project that began in 2009. City engineers installed 430 LED street lights throughout the city. The city used $473,267 of a $3.7 million federal Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant to buy the LED lights for the pilot program.

"This is something that kind of harnesses information technology and the way we do business with our police officers," Carey said.

Gazette reporter Lisa Walton contributed to this report.

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