The Craig City Council is considering installing new streetlights in downtown Craig.
David Pike, Craig Parks and Recreation director, brought the subject to the council’s attention during its March 9 meeting. The council decided to table the issue so it could hear community feedback.
The city received concerns that the current lights, originally purchased in 1996, do not shine bright enough and only illuminate portions of the sidewalk, city manager Jim Ferree said.
Currently, the city is missing three of these lights — two of which will not be replaced because of traffic-related concerns.
Streetlights once in front of Craig Fire Rescue and near Mather’s Lounge & Cafe will not be replaced, but the streetlight in front of the Center of Craig needs to be, according to a memo drafted by Pike and presented to the council.
“We wanted to get the idea out there that we can buy less expensive lights that provide better lighting and that are easier to repair than the ones we currently have,” Ferree said. “But that represents a change in design over what we have and I think we are interested in if there are any concerns regarding that.”
Ferree said the current lights are “fairly easily damaged” and “expensive to get repaired.”
“Knowing that we have some to replace, I mean it is kind of decision time,” he said. “There is no sense in us going back and putting the existing design back where lights have been damaged if we are in fact going to change the design in the near future.”
The city has $20,000 budgeted for the streetlights carried over from 2009, Ferree said. The new lights would cost around $1,500 each.
Ferree said the budget was a concern of the council.
“Right now, I think it would be difficult to ask the City Council to appropriate a significant amount of money for streetlight replacement,” he said. “If things improve a little and that seems to be a priority of the City Council, that is a possibility.”
Any appropriation of funding more than the $20,000 currently budgeted would have to be voted on by the council.
“Because we’re in this downturn economy, I think it would be prudent for City Council to watch our pennies going forward because we know that the economy isn’t going to turn around anytime soon and that is in the forefront of all the council members’ minds,” council member Ray Beck said.
Beck also said he would like to see the streetlight infrastructure examined, as well.
“If we are going to explore the surface part of it, let’s explore the underground part of it and see what the voltage is, what the wattage is and put that all together to bring to the City Council,” he said.
Ferree also said some residents have voiced concern that the current lighting in downtown is a safety issue due to the narrow beam of light projected.
Beck said there needs to be a balance, however, with downtown lighting.
“There are two sides to the spectrum on it,” he said. “The lighting can be not bright enough or you can have it too bright and I don’t think we have reached that happy medium yet.”