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More Lights Sought for Civic Arts Plaza

Hoping to brighten some dimly lighted spots at the Civic Arts Plaza, the city’s theater department has requested that Thousand Oaks City Council members consider adding lights both inside and outside the building.

The request, to be considered by the council Tuesday night, represents a scaled-down version of a proposal put forward by the department during budget negotiations earlier this year. Along with new lights, the theater department wanted to add flags, a glass canopy near the center’s main entrance and other improvements at a total cost of $1.3 million.

But that proposal was considered too extravagant by council members Andy Fox, Linda Parks and Elois Zeanah.

Now the department is asking council members to hire an electrical consultant to look at security lighting outside the building and to explore installing some indoor lighting. According to a Police Department report, added lighting at the center’s Times Plaza would allow Probst Theatre patrons and users of third-floor meeting rooms to feel safer at night. The report also suggests lighting upgrades in several other spots, including the second-floor patio and paths in Civic Arts Plaza Park.

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Inside the center, city staff members suggest installing a central bank of lobby light switches to activate lights. As it stands, the controls to the Probst Center’s lobby lights are spread through three different rooms and are run by timing clocks--an arrangement that can make keeping the lobby well lighted a difficult task, according to the report.

The theater department report points out that council members set aside $200,000 to improve security and interior lighting.

Theater officials also want to enhance the decorative lighting on trees in Civic Arts Plaza Park and the lights at the building’s entrance. They have requested that council members authorize the Alliance for the Arts, the theater’s fund-raising arm, to seek donations for those improvements.

“The trees are strictly aesthetics,” theater director Thomas Mitze said. “It’s part of an idea to create a winter wonderland.” The other issues, he said, “are just general, having more illumination--it’s not fancy.”

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Councilwoman Parks said the issue of better security lighting is important, but she is not sure the earth-colored monolith needs any more illumination.

“It’s a building that already makes a very big statement,” Parks said.


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