The Hope Street Merchants Association has launched a project to find a new way to light up our lives.
They are seeking to design, produce and install off-the-grid, solar-powered streetlights that will give a distinctive illumination and character to the shopping area.
Speaking at a kickoff party in November at Ristorante Pizzico, HSMA co-presidents Pernilla Frazier and Line Daems, owners of Kreatelier home interior services, said the new devices would enhance safety and ambiance to create a “village” feel for an area that is already a premier destination in the city.
Frazier said the fixtures they are seeking don’t exist yet, so the association is working with Johnson and Wales University engineering and information-technologies professor Jonathan Harris and some of his students to develop the concept. He said the students are tasked with “creating a sense of place and identity” and are expected to be finished in about 10 weeks. Their work will include developing an image and logo.
Harris, a principal at Transit Matters, 135 Power St., Providence, a company that designs and builds “urban amenities” that support “walkable communities,” stressed that the first-of-its-kind design would definitely not just slap a solar collector on top of an existing light standard but would seek to develop a system that would be a model for other innovators. Some of his previous local work includes the bus information kiosks downtown.
Deams pointed out that the local electrical utility, National Grid, owns the lightpoles and wiring on the street, but is in negotiations to sell them to the City of Providence, which is looking for innovative ways to save on power costs. She said a National Grid consultant is working with the association on long-term support for the project.
But to help defray the initial costs, the merchants are seeking to raise funds with a “Bring Light to Hope” campaign of selling “keepsake candleholders” at their shops as well as soliciting donations of larger amounts from individuals as well as corporate and charitable entities such as Miriam Hospital.
Donations can be made out to the Hope Street Merchants Assn., care of Kreatelier, 804 Hope St., Providence, RI, 02906. For more information, visit firstname.lastname@example.org.