17th Street's light canopy has positive impact

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CHEYENNE, Wyo (KGWN) - The strings of lights crisscrossing 17th Street are breathing new life into one of the darkest stretches of downtown Cheyenne.

The lights have been on since June of 2017, but the actual project, headed by the Downtown Development Authority, is more than six years in the making, beginning in 2012. The goal was to give downtown a sort of face lift, drawing people in to the downtown area. The canopy runs from Thomes to Warren using solar energy and LED bulbs to give the area new look. So have the lights brought in that extra foot traffic so far?

"Customers tell me how pretty downtown looks now." Virginia Brinkerhoff, owner of “Just Dandy”, tells CBS NewsChannel 5, "It helps my store front when people are driving by."

And while the lights may be attracting patrons they bring something *else just as important.

"When I leave during winter hours at 6'o'clock, it's just lit up and you feel a little more secure." Brinkerhoff says.

That's a sentiment many people share, including Cheyenne Police.

“In general we like the lights,” CPD’s Kevin Malatesta says, “Because it discourages that criminal activity."

But don't think the project is done just yet. The DDA’s Operations Manager, Desirée Brothe, says there more that needs to be done...and the full effect of the lights is yet to come.

"I think overall, 17th street is going to see a renaissance in terms of a lot more businesses coming in things changing."

The project could eventually expand to other parts of downtown. The DDA says it wants to see the project through to full completion...but for now they are concentrating on finishing what is already on 17th Street.