CHAMPAIGN — Park officials have installed new lamps at West Side Park in hopes that new energy-efficient lights will provide better coverage and cost less at the same time.
Of the 53 poles in the park, officials are testing two right now. The poles themselves are in good condition, park district director Bobbie Herakovich said, but the fixtures are more than 20 years old.
They don't even make the old mercury-vapor bulbs anymore, she said.
The goal of the test is to figure out "which fixture is more conducive to providing a safe evening walk for our residents without being obtrusive to the neighborhood," Herakovich said.
One of the fixtures being tested emits a slightly bluish light, she said, and "we don't like it," but there are other colors that can be tested.
The full replacement will cost about $1,000, Herakovich estimates. The bulbs run at 80 percent efficiency, which means smaller light bulbs will get better coverage and cost less to turn on.
The new bulbs are expected to last twice as long, too, she said.
Right now, the West Side Park electric bill costs the park district about $8,000 annually. Herakovich said she hopes new fixtures will cut that at least in half.