Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Spending money on Front Street lights
Barely 30 years ago, our city endured months of construction while the appearance of Front Street was changed, decidedly for the better. Most applauded when it was finished, claiming that the facelift would revive our commercial fortunes, entice visitors to stay awhile, and put more dollars in merchant’s pockets and city coffers. Now we are advised that the streetlights along our historic thoroughfare are outdated, unsightly, and in need of replacement. Three decades old and headed for the scrapheap? We might as well burn down City Hall (35 years old) and revitalize that corner while we’re at it!
Let this reader first admit to his advancing age. Perhaps I long too much for a time when folk in Washington spoke in terms of “millions” and the city budget was calculated in “thousands,” but it seems to this taxpayer that, with increasing ease, our elected officials at every level are adopting the attitude of “if you’ve got it, spend it. If you haven’t got it, borrow and spend it anyway.”
Concerning the lighting in question, is the wiring still sound? Can the posts be painted? Can the globes be either cleaned (have they ever been?) or replaced? Can a newer, more energy efficient bulb be introduced to cut costs? Many millions of citizens have replaced old bulbs with newer versions, with no ill effects. In short, our city should be managed with an eye to provided needed services and infrastructure in the most economical manner possible.
In closing, one particular street light in front of my house has been burning continuously, day and night, for well over a year. I have been waiting to see how long it would take the city to detect the defective lamp. As of this [Tuesday, Feb. 4] morning, they have not. For a year or two, a couple of the Front Street lights have been aglow late each morning, in full daylight. No one has detected that, either. Perhaps our city employees in certain departments have better things to do — like the preparation of budgets that we end up paying for!
Barry A. Price
Lights on Front Street to Be Replaced
I read with interest in the February 5th issue of the Times an article about the discussion at a recent City Council planning retreat to replace the more than 100 street lights in downtown Georgetown. It is certainly acceptable for the participants to express their opinion about what is “aesthetically pleasing” and it is professionally appropriate for an electrical engineer to discuss lighting efficiency.
Since these fixtures were installed as part of the downtown revitalization project in the early 1980s, I have always found them to be very aesthetically pleasing. More importantly they are historically correct and are accurate reproductions of lighting that can be seen in photographs and postcards of Front Street dating to the 1930s and ‘40s.
Occurring in the Historic District, I have to believe that the ultimate recommendation concerning replacement or upgrading should lie with agencies such as the S.C. Department of Archives and History and especially the City Architectural Review Board.
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