Maintenance Committee to reinspect streetlights

       The long-awaited re-placement ballast hardware for Old Colorado City's 41 new streetlights has been shipped and installation by Colorado Springs Utilities is anticipated by May 16.
       After hearing this happy news at their meeting May 11, Old Colorado City Security & Maintenance District Advisory Commit- tee members immediately assigned extra work for themselves - checking out the lights (once they're renovated) to see how bright they are.
       Such a nighttime inspection in March led to the discovery that the new lights - which Utilities had pledged would be noticeably brighter than the 50-year-old ones they'd replaced - were not.
       As a result, Utilities officials investigated the issue and came up with a plan to re-engineer the ballasts in a way that lets the lights that screw into them shine more on the street and less on the buildings, Ric Geiman, City Parks liaison to the district, told the board May 11.
       This also required additional ballast hardware, at a $25,000 cost which will be borne by Utilities, according to City Council member Jerry Heimlicher, who has worked with the district and Utilities over the past year to smooth the joint effort of getting the new lights in.
       The district paid $97,000 for its share of the historic-style lights. Utilities' initial cost was about $30,000, including installation. The original plan was to have the lights up by November (in time for Christmas), but the project got delayed at that time by a supplier not being able to ship the poles soon enough.
       “If this (the ballast re-engineering) doesn't work, we don't want to talk about it,” said committee member Bill Grimes.
       The district is comprised of property owners in the Old Colorado City area, who tax themselves to pay for public improvements in the shopping district.
       Also during the inspection, committee members hope to be checking the brightness of another type of light. This is a 43-inch-tall “ballard.” The committee would like to put about 30 such short lights along Colorado Avenue to shed more illumination near crosswalks and street corners. They would be a kind of replacement for the gradually wearing-out globe lights that have been a trademark of Old Colorado City since its major redevelopment 26 years ago.
       Geiman showed a full-size model of such a light to the committee May 11. Members liked its looks and were not dissuaded by the costs ($237 apiece and about $100 to install). Geiman said he would try to get one lit up so they can see how it looks on the street at night.
       In other streetlight news… A recent traffic accident severely bent one of the new light poles in the south side of the 2400 block of Colorado Avenue. The pole has since been removed, and a metal cap placed over the wiring at its base. The date for a replacement is not yet known, Geiman said.

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