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Elyria Council's Finance Committee finds lighting solution for state Route 57

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    New light poles installed in a median on state Route 57 between Chestnut Ridge Road and Cleveland Street in Elyria are shown in September 2009. Many of the lights are now in a state of disrepair, and the city will pay $375,000 -- with all but about $95,000 coming from grant money -- to have them fixed.

    STEVE MANHEIM / CHRONICLE FILE

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ELYRIA — Let there be light.

City Council’s Finance Committee approved a solution Monday night to relight state Route 57 and a portion of state Route 113 in a $375,000 project that will cobble together two grants and about $95,000 from the city’s 2016 temporary tax.

Options are plentiful for how to get the lights back on the main thoroughfares, but none are proving cheap.

Council members took a couple of months of debating before reaching a decision to apply for grants from both the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council and PJM Interconnect, an electric cooperative, that offer incentives to customers who install energy-efficient equipment. Elyria could receive about $103,000 over four years from PJM, Brinda said.

The NOPEC grant is about $160,000 and would come back to the city immediately as a rebate. However, that means the city will have to pay the entire $375,000 cost upfront and will do so with Issue 6 funds.

Finance Director Ted Pileski said all rebate payments from the two grants will go back into the Issue 6 fund, meaning the net cost to the city will be about $95,000.

This approach will fund the replacement of 300 light heads on Route 57 from Lorain Boulevard to Chestnut Ridge Road, pay for a contactor to do the work and also purchase some light poles to replace toppled ones along the road.

An earlier idea to remove some of the poles in the more heavily concentrated areas to reduce the number of targets for drivers proved unsuccessful, so the city is sticking with the current design pattern.

Since the poles went up in 2009, motorists have knocked them down during traffic accidents with increased frequency. In addition to just normal burnout from use, the city estimates that at least a third of the traffic lights between Chestnut Ridge Road and Lorain Boulevard are out.

The city also is planning to reactivate six lights on Route 113 from Lorain Boulevard to Lake Avenue.

The lights there have been a fight for Councilwoman Donna Mitchell, D-6th Ward, for months as traveling the bridge at night toward Clemens Avenue is a near pitch-black experience, she has said.

Safety Service Director Mary Siwierka said Route 113 presented another problem because rodents gnawing on the wiring caused damage. This fix will only provide six lights in this go around.

Communications Department Senior Manager Larry Showalter said the more efficient LED lights have a 10-year warranty.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 440-329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.



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