ELYRIA — There is a patchy darkness along state Route 57.
Residents have noticed it. Drivers have noticed it.
And, Mayor Holly Brinda has noticed it.
By her estimation, she believes about a third of all the street lights are either burned out or knocked down, and she said she sees it as a safety issue.
As such, she would like City Council to revisit how to fit replacing the lights into the city’s budget. She is urging Council to reconsider a proposal from Communications Department Senior Manager Larry Showalter to install more efficient LED lights along the main thoroughfare using Issue 6 funds related to roadway improvements.
“I want to have the conversation before the permanent budget is set, because I don’t think we can wait that long,” she said recently.
Safety Service Director Mary Siwierka said the lights were installed roughly 10 years ago and not efficient by today’s standards.
The city installed the high-wattage lights on Route 57 in 2009 as a part of a $20 million reconstruction project. However, the lights are city owned and -operated because the poles are not regulation Ohio Edison poles, so they are under the purview of the city to maintain, Siwierka said. The ones chosen for the thoroughfare are slimmer and shorter than standard poles.
To replace all of the lights at one time would cost in excess of $200,000, with a return on investment from electricity savings in five to seven years. The issue will go before the Strategic Planning Committee on Feb. 20.