Spanish Trail Playhouse President Kevin Russell is seeking to install lightingSpanish Trail Playhouse President Kevin Russell is seeking to install lighting in the parking lot by the community theatre due to safety concerns with senior citizens walking back to their car after nighttime performances. [COLLIN BREAUX | Washington County News and Holmes County Advertiser]

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Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported monthly lighting costs would be paid by the Chipley Redevelopment Agency. That has been removed and we regret the error.

Currently, audience members leaving a nighttime performance at the Spanish Trail Playhouse–Chipley’s community theatre–will encounter dark skies and a lack of parking lot lights when walking back to their cars.

Playhouse President Kevin Russell is hoping to remedy the issue.

Russell–who also sits on the Board of Directors for the Chipley Redevelopment Agency–mentioned the issue during a CRA meeting on Monday, Nov. 14, at the request of the Playhouse Board of Directors. 

“There is no parking lot lighting at all in that area of town,†Russell said. “We’ve had three seniors that have face-planted into the street because they can’t see all across the street.â€

Russell asked if the CRA was interested in partnering with the Playhouse to help keep the parking lot lit. Other CRA members said they were open to assisting. 

Reaching out to Florida Power & Light and adding new utility poles were mentioned as options, as was adding more lighting to existing poles.

The parking lot is owned by the Washington County School Board. The Playhouse is at 680 2nd Street, by the Phillip Rountree Stadium used for high school football games. 

 â€œWe don’t have a price. We haven’t even started the project,†Russell said. “It’s not a time-sensitive thing. I’m going to talk to Florida Power & Light and then I’m going to talk to the school board.†

The parking lot needs to be “recapped and restriped†and is used for event parking, Russell said.

“That whole area of town could use a lot of lipstick,†he said. 

The possibility of adding more inside lighting for the Playhouse stage was also brought up by Russell.