ST. LOUIS ( -- The lights up and down Market Street can be changed to red to celebrate a Cardinals win or appear in the colors of the American flag, but the LED lights offer a lot more than a pretty light show.

“It’s really a smart city lighting system,” explained Missy Kelley

The lighting is part of a project in the works for several years. The nearly $4 million installation smart lighting is being paid for with private funding.

You might have seen some of the colored lights on Market Street which was part of the pilot program, but the rest are being rolled out now. Phase one will be completed before the All Star Game this month in downtown St. Louis and will include the streets around the Enterprise Center, Stifel Theater and Union Station.

The lights are being added to existing light poles and are essentially a computer.

“We are putting the infrastructure that allows us to add technology like cameras, shot spotter, pedestrian counters. Things that help a city run more efficiently,” said Kelley.

They also can help with public safety which is a concern for some in downtown, especially following a homicide on a popular part of Washington Avenue last Friday night.

Police identified the victim on Wednesday at Brandon Bently, 50, of Redwood Valley, Calif. Investigators said he was shot inside of a pickup truck and then pushed out of the truck. The suspects drove off and the truck was later recovered and discovered to be stolen.

Pam Walker lives in the 1500 block of Washington Avenue and said it happened right outside her loft.

“It’s pretty shocking to look outside and see someone dead in the middle of the street,” said Walker.

She is the former director of health for the City of St. Louis and has lived in downtown for years. She said despite crime like this she feels safe because most of it is not random acts of violence. While police said they are still investigating the motive of the homicide, those familiar with the case said this too does not appear to be a random shooting.

“They’re not random acts of violence, they’re people who know one another that get in an argument we have so many guns now they become part of the argument, and those are things that can happen anywhere,” said Kelley.

But safety is important for downtown visitors, especially as the city plans to welcome thousands for the All Star Game. Kelley said one of the great things about the new lighting system is the ability to really brighten up the area.

“Say an event gets out, the All Star Game for example. The game gets out and everyone is pouring out in the streets, we can turn the lights up to daylight level and it's one of those things that makes people feel better while they’re walking to get a drink or just walking to their car,” said Kelley.

Copyright 2020 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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