Be'er Sheva Mayor's Solution: Repairs and Lighting

Five months after taking office, Mayor Rubik Danilovich of Be'er Sheva is addressing one of the city's major problems: dirt and neglect. The new mayor has been working on a comprehensive plan to change the appearance of the city, at a cost of tens of millions of shekels.

The plan will be brought before the municipal council plenum for budgetary approval in about two weeks.

The first project, to be implemented within weeks, is nighttime lighting for cultural and historical buildings. Forty public buildings in town, including Abraham's Well, will be accorded individually-suited lighting.

"Each building will be given colored but electricity-saving illumination symbolizing its past and its future. This will revive the city and give it a unique character," says Danilovich.

Furthermore, the sidewalks and traffic circles will be refurbished immediately; water attractions will be built, first and foremost a large park to attract thousands of visitors from around the country; fountains will be placed around the city; and lamp posts will be painted interesting colors.

Last month Danilovich met with several landscape architects and presented his ideas. Next week, the architect who will design the city for the coming decade will be chosen.

In recent years, despite the large budgets for improving the city's appearance, citizens have complained that the city looks dirty, municipal parks are neglected and the streets are not maintained.

Danilovich is hoping that within a decade, "Be'er Sheva will become one of the most beautiful cities in Israel."

In addition, Danilovich and his deputy, attorney Igal Ovshievich, are working on a plan to equip public parks with nighttime lighting and security cameras, to prevent vandalism and crime.

"Many teenagers hang out at night, consume alcohol and break the bottles. They break lamp posts and benches, burn playground equipment and the parks fill up with glass," says Ovshievich, who is responsible for the municipality's environmental quality. "The main aim of the project is to prevent vandalism and restore security."