City considers Main St. lights

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 1, 2006

By Kari Lucin, staff writer

Drivers entering Albert Lea on Main Street will soon be welcomed by the warm glow of old-fashioned-looking street lamps, if the City Council decides to go ahead with its $500,000 lighting project.

&8220;This is significant lighting, to draw a true light tunnel and message that we are warm and welcoming,&8221; said City Manager Victoria Simonsen.

Alliant Energy and Freeborn Mower Cooperative Services, the two electrical companies that will serve the lights, have cooperated with the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce and the city to create the plan.

The 98 lamps will be spaced just 150 feet apart, some with two lights to a pole and others as single lights, all the way from County Road 38 to Morningside Road, basically from Trail&8217;s Travel Center to Morris Furniture.

&8220;To stay consistent, the committee is looking at this as more of a longer-term project,&8221; Simonsen said. &8220;We wouldn&8217;t necessarily have to go that far out.&8221;

The City Council looked at two types of poles for the old-fashioned lamps &8212; the standard fiberglass pole that can be found on any city street and a rustic-looking iron pole.

The fiberglass pole would need to have brackets built onto it for banners, need to be built five feet down in the ground and have a three-year warranty. The iron poles are meant to rust out and look antique, have a 10-year warranty and do not need an underground foundation. They also have a built-in bracket and are much heavier than the fiberglass poles.

The council seemed more interested in the iron poles, with their $565,000 price tag, than the $479,000 price tag, though the final decision on the lighting project will not be made until one of the City Council meetings in September.

About half the project will be assessable to property owners on either side of East Main Street.

Most of the poles will be in Alliant Energy&8217;s territory, and utility costs for those 73 lamps will be about $700 a month. The 27 poles in the cooperative&8217;s territory will cost $900 a month.