“Smile, you’re on camera!” is what you’ll soon be able to say when you’re in downtown Jacksonville.
The non-profit group Jacksonville Main Street finished installation on Thursday of a series of webcams on top of several buildings. The cameras will soon be up and running on the Main Street website during events like the downtown farmer’s market.
Executive Director Judy Tighe says the cameras will combine to create a panoramic view.
“Our hope is that we would have them running live, different views, depending on where the activities are and what activities are occurring. But then, we would be able to stream that live while the event is getting ready to happen during the event so that people could pull it up and see that there are in fact vendors, there’s a lot of people at the farmers’ market, concerts getting under way, that kind of stuff. We look forward to even during parades, we’ll be able to flash the activity even as it’s happening,” she says.
Tighe says years ago, Jacksonville Main Street had a live webcam from its former location at what is now Congressman Darin LaHood’s office in a partnership with the Jacksonville Journal-Courier.
She says over 12-hundred people viewed the camera daily, and while that was a strain on the streaming service, she says it was a way for people to stay connected.
“It was a nice way, especially for people that didn’t come downtown or that actually lived out of the city or the state, to sort of track what was going on in our downtown, because obviously, that was a very exciting period of time to see the square getting re-done and re-opened, and it was very, very popular,” she says.
“And then, when we moved our office, that was one of the questions that we got pretty regularly, was, ‘Are you going to get another camera?’ We looked into it, and we finally figured out a way to do that and tie it in with our downtown farmers’ market promotion,” Tighe continues.
Tighe says the initial camera installation cost will be covered by a USDA grant. She says Jacksonville Main Street will seek funding for the online broadcasts through advertisers.