By Terry Lehrke, News Editor
The Little Falls City Council saw electronic designs of how a city block in historic downtown Little Falls may look, once new street lights and possibly some other accessories are added.
The new street lights will replace the current historic lights with four large bulbs and new lights added in several areas, for a total of 120 lights. The current historic lights are falling apart, Public Works Director Jerry Lochner said, after less than 20 years. The first set was put up in 1997, but the metal quality was poor. Lochner said in taking a sample, many impurities were found in the metal, making it weak.
The new lights, all made of a higher quality metal, do not have to be installed all at once, although Lochner said the city would save money in doing so.
One of each brand of the new street lights has been installed along one block of First Street Southeast, between Bank Square and First Avenue Southeast.
While each has a very similar design on the top featuring an LED bulb surrounded by a teardrop-shaped enclosure, each sports a different base.
The poles being used are standard poles that could be purchased and matched next year or in five, 10 or 15 years, said Lochner, should they need to be replaced.
Lochner shared the images, put together by city staff. Over the next weeks, he will meet with various groups in the community including the Little Falls Business Association and the Little Falls Area Chamber of Commerce to show the designs.
Residents are welcome to share with the Council their preference as well.
While much of the cost of the lights will be paid for by state aid and a $29,760 rebate from Minnesota Power, the city will be responsible for the cost of those lights located in parking lots or on non-state aid streets.
Estimated costs from each of the three companies with the city’s estimated cost in parenthesis includes the Millerbernd – $667,222 ($107,302 city cost); Holophane – $513,640 ($82,600) and Sternberg – $506.490 ($81,450).
The new lights would not only replace the existing historic lights with the four bulbs, but would also replace some of the silver aluminum lights down to Pine Edge Inn on south Main Street and to the Police Station on North Main Street, as well as to the Government Center on east Highway 27 and west to portions of Lindbergh Drive north and south.
Plans to add benches and/or planters are still being considered. Lochner presented several plans that show how benches and planters could be incorporated into a block design, and how a city banner, U.S. flag or hanging planter may look on the poles.
Those plans can be found below: