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Clinton taking steps toward becoming ‘smarter’

By JACK WEATHERLY

Clinton is taking steps toward becoming a “smart city.”

Mark Jones, director of communications for the city calls them “baby steps.”

One is that the Hinds County city has put in an air-conditioning system with motion sensors in its police and justice building, according to Jones.

The sensors help to determine peak activity so that the system can be used more efficiently, Jones said.

Ultimately, “the goal is to look at our operations across the city, not only to save money, but to maximize our systems,” Jones said. “A smart city helps us to make smart decisions.”

“We’re already working with Entergy to retrofit our street lights with LED’s. That’s more of a green technology but we realize that is one of the steps we have to take to be able to capitalize on smart technology,” he said.

One improvement that is under consideration is “our street lights, in our walkable areas especially, would sense when somebody is coming and they would brighten up two to three lights ahead of somebody and then stay lit two or three steps behind them.”

And at other times, the lights would be dimmer than others, say, at dusk rather than midnight.

Jones said that the city has talked with C Spire, the Ridgeland-based telecom that is beginning to expand into the latest data technology itself by running a two-month trial on Ridgeland’s traffic and street lights.

Bill Hetrick, a Realtor and vice president of the Hinds County Economic Development Authority, said he and his wife, Marilyn, “led the effort to get C Spire’s fiber to the homes in Clinton. They were on the verge of pulling up stakes and leaving Clinton.”

“Obviously, I feel that it is important to be on the leading edge of technological opportunities. It’s an era where you’re either ahead or behind.” The Hetricks live in Clinton.

Clinton, population about 25,000 and home of Mississippi College, is considering rolling out wi-fi for the convenience of cellular users but also measuring traffic and whether security needs to be increased, Jones said.

Work toward establishing a digital walking tour with video and audio components has begun and must be finished by the end of the year in order to not lose an $8,500 grant from the Mississippi Bicentennial Commission toward to total of $20,000, Jones said.

“You’re going to see a year-round walkable Clinton [with] 21 historical sites. You can stay in your car if it’s raining,” he said.

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