By Terry Lehrke, News Editor
The Heritage Preservation Commission (HPC) made its recommendation on the style of street lights it would like to see in historic downtown Little Falls — the Sternberg.
Three street light styles have been erected on a portion of First Street between First Avenue East and Bank Square, in Little Falls for months. Residents were invited to let the city know which they preferred.
The Sternberg was the HPC’s choice, said Don Opatz, based not only on the historic look of the base, but also on the fact that the pole is made of aluminum, which will hold the green paint better.
Opatz said stainless steel, used by Millerbernd, doesn’t hold the paint well. “The paint doesn’t hold well on stainless steel, there’s always issues with paint on stainless steel,” he said.
While the Holophane also uses aluminum and would hold paint, the HPC felt the look of the base of the Sternberg was more fitting.
The HPC didn’t look at all favorably on the Millerbernd style base, said Opatz.
The color of the street lights will be the same green as the current lights and that used on fencing around parking lots in downtown.
“The green will match the other lights. The design on the top, the teardrop, carries through with the fence along the river and all the parking lots that have the historic fencing,” said Opatz.
So too, the bracket used by Sternberg does not require it be screwed onto the pole to secure it.
The bracket can be used to hang flower pots, banners or flags. A decision has not been made about what the brackets will be used for.
The one benefit of the Millerbernd is the fact that it carried a 25-year warranty, while the other two carried a 10-year warranty.
The majority of the cost of the new street lights will come from state aid money. The Sternberg street lights are expected to cost the city the least amount of money. The total cost is estimate at $506,490, with the city paying $81,450 of the cost.
The Council asked that city staff ask whether Sternberg would consider a longer warranty on the lights.
Public Works Supervisor Jerry Lochner said after the final decision is made, the plans must be sent to the Minnesota State Aid Department, to ensure its guidelines are followed.
In a few months, the city will put out bids for the project, and by spring 2014, the project may begin, said Lochner.
At that point, “They can decide if they want to hang flowers, banners or flags,” said Lochner. “Those are options with any of the poles.”
Lochner said any of the poles would provide better wear and tear than the current historic lights. “They are substantially better than what we have now,” he said. “We want these poles to last 50 – 60 years, not 20.”