City to install brighter lights around Mill Pond

Published 10:31 am Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The city of Austin will clear trees, clean up errant growth and install 250-watt bulbs in dimly lit areas around Mill Pond and Packer Arena to make the area better lit during the night.

The Austin City Council approved the changes Monday after reviewing several options to light the area, which is one of the council’s goals for 2015.

Council members discussed potential lighting options for the Mill Pond area to improve safety along the pond’s walking trail at night. The city could have replaced the 29 current lights with 250-watt bulbs, remove trees to better illuminate the path, add seven new lights or get LED lights.

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Rather than add lights, the council chose a mix of options to keep costs as low as possible.

Yet the council acknowledged the city would soon have to switch to LED lighting in the future, following other cities and municipalities.

“We’re a little behind the eight-ball on this,” Public Works Director Steven Lang told the council.

The LED lights could cost as much as $43,500 to install around Mill Pond, but the council approved Council member Judy Enright’s suggestion to replace the current bulbs as needed.

In other news, the council:

—Approved renewing its status as a Shovel-Ready City through the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

The municipal certification program shows businesses certain locations which have completed planning, zoning, surveys, title work, environmental studies and more before the site goes up for sale. The council previously approved moving forward on certification in 2012.

The city would split the $3,250 certification cost with the Development Corporation of Austin.

—Approved City Administrator Craig Clark’s positive six-month review and $4,000 raise, retroactively beginning June 8.