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Elyria will have to pay for Route 57 lights

The cash rebates city officials thought would be available to offset the cost of installing energy-efficient lights on state Route 57 likely won’t materialize.

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ELYRIA — The cash rebates city officials thought would be available to offset the cost of installing energy-efficient lights on state Route 57 likely won’t materialize, leaving the city to pay for the project out of Issue 6 funds and recouping the costs from lower energy bills.

City Council approved in March the use of funds from the 0.5 percent income tax with the understanding the funds would just be a loan and the rebate proceeds would go back into the fund. However, the grants now appear to be significantly lower than originally thought.

Safety Service Director Mary Siwierka offered City Council members an update on the lighting project Monday. She said she learned earlier this month that changes to energy rebate programs likely would result in less money returning to the city of Elyria.

Siwierka said Council’s return on their Issue 6 investment from switching out the lights will now come in the form of lower utility costs. It is how the city will pay back the cost of the $218,000 project.

Tom Sherman, a consultant with Sustainable Energy Services, said energy companies use rebates to help them meet government energy mandates. They will offer more or less of the rebates each year depending on how well the mandates are being met.

PJM Interconnect, an electric cooperative that offers incentives to customers who install energy-efficient equipment, doesn’t see street lighting that uses the bulk of its energy during nonpeak times as eligible for its rebate program. This change to the program became effective June 1.

The project will include replacing 375 light heads on Route 57 from Lorain Boulevard to Chestnut Ridge Road, hiring a contactor to do the work and also purchasing some light poles to replace toppled ones along the road.

The city also is doing a separate project with Issue 6 funds on state Route 113. The plan there is 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.

In other news

n One resident’s persistence will pay off for ball players who use West Park.

For months, Oakwood Drive resident Larry Klipstein has called on Council to authorize the resurfacing of a basketball court at the playground. He said the neighborhood kids who use the park needed a new surface, one free of cracks and properly striped for a game of basketball.

Monday, City Council’s Finance Committee agreed to spend nearly $11,000 for the project.

Parks and Recreation Director Carrie Reardon said the court will have 2-inches of new asphalt and will be relined. The basketball hoops are in good condition, Reardon said.

Councilwoman Donna Mitchell, D-6th Ward, thanked Klipstein for his diligence to get the matter before Council.

n An Elyria man could move into the old fire station on Lake Avenue after agreeing to buy the aging building.

Jacob Schramm is looking to purchase the closed fire station for roughly $10,000, which is the cost of the appraised value, appraiser and closing costs. City Council’s Finance Committee agreed to the sale Monday.

Schramm said he wants to fix up the old building, move into the upstairs and use the downstairs to store and work on his old car collection.

“With some time and TLC, I think it can look great,” he said.

Siwierka said the station closed between 15 and 20 years ago when a newer station opened on Bell Avenue. The County’s Emergency Management Agency once leased the property for storage, but not in recent years.

She said the building needs extensive work including a new roof, electrical system and plumbing.

n City Council’s Community Development Committee agreed to rezone the old Edison Elementary School property from residential-

multidistrict to a business-general district to allow Elegant Assets Event Center to expand its growing business.

Jessica and Jerrod Rogers purchased the old school from Elyria Schools in 2016 and have since turned it into a party center and wedding venue. The venue is frequently used and business appears to be thriving as many classrooms and the gymnasium have been transformed.

The Rogerses want to keep growing their business and sought the rezoning.

City Council will vote on each item discussed above when it meets 7 p.m. July 9. There will be no meeting July 2.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.

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