Downtown Staunton retrofitted with new lights

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STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) — The Queen City is shining a little brighter at night after the lights on downtown streets were retrofitted with new lights.

Julie Markowitz, executive director of the Staunton Downtown Development Association, said they began raising money for the lights in 2017.

Markowitz said several years ago, they used a grant to update the lights around the Wharf and train station. In the 18 months after, Markowitz said 11 new businesses opened. She hopes the lights will bring new life to downtown as well.

The SDDA conducted a survey in 2016, and the survey found that people wanted stores to stay open later and to create a more vibrant nightlife.

"I'm hoping that the lights will be a catalyst for a stronger evening hour nightlife," Markowitz said, "for not just the retailers, but also the restaurants."

Markowitz added that with new growth at Mary Baldwin, and the national recognition Staunton has gotten, they're expecting more tourists and students to be spending time in the area.

"We want to be ready for that," Markowitz said. "We want the downtown to feel really comfortable safe for our newcomers and our visitors that have never been here before."

There were 36 lights along Beverly Street and side streets that were retrofitted with the new bulbs, at a cost of $25,000. Markowitz said the money came from the community.

The new globes direct the light downward, which helps provide more even light to the area. The lights will also help save the city on its utility bill.