(TNS) — Hampton has installed 15 new light solar-powered poles with surveillance camera capabilities in Y.H. Thomas Park.
City officials say the “off-the-grid” poles will illuminate neighborhoods with limited light sources, enhance security to the ball fields and walking trail behind the Y.H. Thomas Community Center on Thomas Street. A security camera also attached which will provide an extra pair of eyes to Hampton police via a live video feed.
The 20-foot poles are powered with lithium batteries that can store energy for up to eight days with no sunlight, according to city officials. Each will have Wi-Fi access and charging ports, panic buttons and so-called follow-me sensors.
“If there is activity in the park, the lights will brighten. If there is no activity, they will dim,” Hampton’s information technology lead, Wayne Davis, told the City Council in November.
It’s part of Hampton’s quest toward expanding its broadband capacities, under a program called “Next Generation Network,” something Virginia Beach officials have been pursuing for years.
“It’s timely and informative … to learn about our fiber-based initiatives and really working to expand broadband to our city and community facilities,” City Manager Mary Bunting said during the November work session. “There’ s lot of talk on the Southside … Virginia Beach’s efforts and broad-banding, and it naturally creates conversation, what is the Peninsula, specifically, what is Hampton doing to be current in digitally transforming our communities?”
Davis also sketched out early recommendations it received from Yorktown-based consultants Metro Fiber Network that would help make Hampton a technology hub.
One recommendation called for taping into the cable landing station being anchored in Virginia Beach and linking to one on Fort Monroe to expand overall connectivity to City Hall and facilities in the vicinity during a first phase, citywide in subsequent, he said. Another recommendation called for rolling out the smart pole program.
Hampton has spent $137,000 to fund the pilot LED smart pole installation. Y.H. Thomas Park, with its half-mile walking trail named for the late Mary T. Christian, has a basketball court, youth baseball field, football field, softball field, playground and two picnic shelters.
The city also pitched installing poles in other poorly-lit area along E. Queens Way, 12 surrounding Hampton History Museum on Old Hampton Lane, three that would be retrofitted for solar power on Mellen Street Bridge and five in a parking lot in Phoebus, Davis said.
Hampton says it is the first in the region to adopt “off-the-grid,” green technology, using a model developed by Metairie, La.-based ClearWorld. The move will help Hampton reduce its carbon footprint and energy costs, officials said. These poles are not connected to Dominion Energy.
The Y.H. Thomas Park area was due for new lighting, Bunting said. Hampton sets aside about $100,000 in its current budget for streetlights.
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