Urbana neighborhood to get new, brighter street lights

URBANA — A northwest Urbana neighborhood will be getting new, whiter street lights this year to replace older lights that give off a yellow hue.

Lights lining the streets on 19 residential blocks immediately to the west and south of King Park have long outlived their usable life, said Assistant City Engineer Gale Jamison.

The project is estimated to cost $1 million, although Jamison said bids may come in lower than that when officials seek contractors within the next month or so. Installation would begin in the spring and all the lights are expected to be installed by December 2013.

The 15-foot-tall concrete poles fixed with high-pressure sodium lamps will be replaced by 30-foot aluminum poles and LED fixtures. The LED fixtures will give off a brighter, whiter light compared with the yellowish, dull light of the sodium bulbs.

Jamison said residents should expect "a more uniform light, a whiter light, and a difference in pole type."

Part of the project will be paid with funds from the city's Community Development Block Grant, an annual allotment from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. CDBG funds are used to benefit low- and moderate-income households and to help prevent blight, said Urbana Grants Manager Kelly Mierkowski.

Sidewalks and street lights are common CDBG projects, she said, and the King Park area project is no different. New street lights can improve the appearance and safety of a neighborhood.

The King Park neighborhood is one of the areas city officials have been targeting with CDBG funds.

Officials think the existing lights were installed in the 1960s, Jamison said. The poles, fixtures and wiring will all need to be replaced because of their poor condition.

"There will be more light than there is now because of the age of the existing fixtures," Jamison said.

Jamison said the poles are similar to those on Park Street in front of Provena Covenant Medical Center, but the King Park neighborhood lights will not be quite as bright.

The new lights will help bring the neighborhood up to current standards.

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Sid Saltfork wrote on January 04, 2013 at 10:01 am

More use of federal, and state grants.  More spending of unlimited financial resources.

americanproud wrote on January 04, 2013 at 12:01 pm

But Sid, they do need better lighting in that area, as it has a higher crime rate.  There are families who live there, and perhaps better street lights will reduce crime rates. 

Sid Saltfork wrote on January 04, 2013 at 4:01 pm

I am not objecting to the street lights.  I am objecting to the constant use of federal, and state monies by municipalities.  Multiple Urbana by all of the other municipalities that need better street lights to reduce crime rates.  It adds up to a whopping amount of money for street lights.  Of course, crimes do not happen in the daylight......   Rather than spend others money on needed projects; Urbana could reduce the amount of statues, swimming pool fixtures, and other assorted wants.  Urbana could pay for it's own street lights.  Urbana has a long history of obtaining federal, and state monies while spending it's own on wants rather than needs.

americanproud wrote on January 04, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Yeah, I see your point, Sid.  Thanks for 'splaining.  :)  Urbana does seem to have a way of using federal and state funds to pay for things that should be city-funded. 

Thanks to our wonderful mayor and city council.  (I'm being facetious.)

rsp wrote on January 05, 2013 at 6:01 am

Swimming pools also keep kids out of trouble by keeping them busy, so they aren't exactly a want. And are you familiar with the theory of the broken window?

bmwest wrote on January 04, 2013 at 8:01 pm
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I can understand lighting for sidewalks and crosswalks for safety but I'm curious to know more about the benefits of general street lighting.