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Downtown Jacksonville has a bright future ahead

KETK
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Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - 7:32pm

Adding LED lights to buildings downtown

Tomato town will be a little brighter in a few weeks. Austin Gwartney, the 19-year-old brainchild of this project says, "We can program the lights to be any color or any shade that you can imagine." Gwartney owns Lighting Empire in Jacksonville and thought of the idea, "Me and a couple business owners I mentioned it to them and they loved it so I just took the idea and ran with it,” Gwartney says.

The lights are being installed starting this week, and soon all the buildings along Commerce, Ragsdale and others streets in Downtown Jacksonville will illuminate.

Jacksonville City Manager, Mo Raissi, has been on board with the lighting project since the beginning when it was first purposed to City Council. Rassi says he's excited to brighten up his town, not just during the holidays but all year long, "they can have it during different holidays, different colors, and if you know there’s a football game on we can use it for football,” Raissi says.

Tina Hargett has been in business in Downtown Jacksonville for 28 years, she says the new lights will not only attract more people to her hair salon, Rainbows End Salon, but it will also create new energy for the city—especially for football. "I just think to light them up for ball games and stuff like that I don’t know I just think it's going to be great,” Hargett says. The majority of business owners Downtown are just as enthusiastic about the lights as Hargett.

The lights will be paid for by the businesses themselves, and the rest of the funds are covered by donations from various organizations, such as Keep Jacksonville Beautiful and private donations. The donations will cover the vacant buildings downtown so all the building will be light-filled and glowing by mid-November.
 

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