Officials in Russell Gardens want to replace all 92 streetlights in the village with light-emitting diodes and put cameras on some of the light poles to increase security and save thousands of dollars in energy costs.
The village took the first step toward that goal on June 6 when board trustees approved a $235,000 contract with the New York Power Authority. NYPA will now conduct an engineering study that catalogs Russell Gardens’ current street lighting, said Deputy Mayor Lawrence Chaleff.
“They’re going to determine whether or not we have adequate lighting, if there are certain areas that might need more lighting, if certain areas have too much lighting, and then they’ll make recommendations,” Chaleff said.
Mayor David Miller outlined the village’s plan for LEDs during Thursday’s board meeting. He said the LED streetlights will be electronically linked so they can be controlled simultaneously from Village Hall on Tain Drive.
“They can be made brighter or dimmer,” Miller said. “They can be turned on. They can be turned off and they can report if there’s a problem with an individual light without having to go out and find it.”
Plans call for hanging cameras at the entrances to Russell Gardens and perhaps at the busiest thoroughfares in the village. Cameras will not face anyone’s home, Miller said.
Using LEDs will save the village about $7,000 annually in electricity costs, Miller said, citing a NYPA estimate. He said the cameras “would certainly increase the security of the village markedly.”
Joseph Oginski, an officer at Nassau County's Eighth Precinct, which covers Great Neck, Russell Gardens and University Gardens, echoed Miller’s security comment Thursday and said strategically placed cameras sometimes help law enforcement identify suspects or spot the license plate of a vehicle used in a crime.
“A lot of the new camera systems are generally way lower in cost than what they used to be,” Oginski said.
NYPA will spearhead most of the project, including finding a contractor to install the LEDs, Miller said.
Village officials don’t know when the lights will be installed, what type of cameras will be purchased or the project's total cost, Miller said. Most of the cost will be covered by three grants, but the village will still need to spend at least $40,000 to get a matching grant, Miller said.
The village plans to hold public hearings about the LED switch before finalizing plans, Miller said.
“This is not going to happen quickly,” he said. “This is just the first step of a long journey that we’ve just started.”