BEAUMONT, Texas — A Beaumont councilman is pushing for a project that he believes will elevate and light up the city without burdening its residents.
Many shared Facebook posts that suggested making the freeways under Interstate 10 a bit brighter with LED lights. Beaumont City Councilman A.J. Turner listened to those suggestions and feels it is the right move to get people involved.
"These are the people who live inside of the community, because we all should make decisions on how we want our community to look, how we want the image of our community to be," Councilman Turner said. "It's important that we as a community make those decisions."
The decision to add the lights is based on meetings with councils from other Texas cities who already made the electric changes.
“Well, to be honest, I actually met with council members from San Antonio and Houston to see how can I make this in our city,” said Councilman Turner. "And that's one of the good things about those conferences we go to, we have the opportunity to network."
The Beaumont City councilman feels those networking opportunities helped him understand how he could achieve his goal through grants and funds from the Texas Department of Transportation.
“While TxDOT is re-doing the freeway, they have money that is allocated to do lighting and things of that magnitude,” Councilman Turner. "Sometimes it may be smart to get with TxDOT in advance and see if that funding can be utilized to so LED color lighting versus the typical white clear lighting."
The goal is to improve the city without burdening Beaumont residents.
"They also told me about grant opportunities with companies similar to Entergy," Councilman Turner said. "It's ways to get these things funded and let it be a benefit to your city, without being a burden on your budget."
Councilman Turner has turned to social media to connect with residents to help gauge interest.
"Communicate with your constituents and sometimes social media can be the best outlet and I don't think we as elected officials take advantage of it," Councilman Turner said. "So, I chose to use my platform to communicate with constituents through social media as well as physical presence."
The move to light up Beaumont continues amid overwhelming support from residents and pushed from other councils.