New lights illuminate, add color downtown
About half of Tonganoxie's new street lights are in place, and, according to some local opinions, the city is becoming a shining example of what a small town should look like.
"I'm very pleased with the way the lights are turning out," said Mayor John Franiuk. "They add a lot of drama to the downtown landscape, and I like the color as well it's better than the traditional black."
Chris Eppley, city administrator, said when the downtown renovation project is completed, 42 lights will run along the sidewalks. Another 18 lights will stand at the intersections that run along Fourth Street from Pleasant Street on the east to Green Street on the west.
Prior to city renovation, each block had about three light poles. The additional lights won't necessarily mean downtown will be brighter. Each sidewalk light will use a 70-watt metal halide bulb, and the corner lights will use a 220-watt metal halide bulb, Eppley said.
By shining downward onto the sidewalk, the new lights are designed to provide light for more ambiance, Eppley said.
The lampposts are manufactured in Canada, Eppley said. They are made of cast aluminum with dark green paint baked on.
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working on the project selected green to give color to downtown when leaves are off the trees.
The lighting and electrical work has been installed by David Bennett.
"He has really done good work for us," Eppley said.
Another area of the town expected to provide more ambiance is a small vacant lot west of the office of Dr. Richard Dean.
Eppley said that the land belongs to Dean, but is being paved by the city as a pedestrian walkway.
"It's a little park area that will allow for people to get to the parking lot behind First State Bank," Eppley said.
"First State Bank has offered that as public parking, and Dr. Dean has been very generous to allow us to use his property to build a walkway to the parking lot," Eppley said.
"Until that time that he chooses to build on that, we will be using that property," Eppley said. "We'll do some dressing up some brick areas, and we'll probably put in a bench and maybe some lights to make it homey."
Progress on the sidewalks also is moving along, Eppley said.
"The contractor has almost all of the sidewalk poured on the south side of the street and has about 75 percent of the stormwater drain in place."
Work started this week on the sidewalks on the north side of the street. The entire project is expected to be completed within eight to 10 weeks, Eppley said, depending on the weather.
"We've had such excellent weather that I don't think any of us can complain," Eppley said.
It also helps that the business owners have been very understanding of the project and supportive of it, he added.
"We certainly understand that it's been a hassle," Eppley said. "But people have been very good about not only understanding, but also in continuing to patronize the businesses downtown."