Fairplay brightened by new streetlights | SummitDaily.com

Fairplay brightened by new streetlights

Special to the Daily/Linda BaloughFairplay is getting used to the new streetlights installed along Main Street. The initial brightness of the lights before they burn in has townspeople taking note of their presence.

FAIRPLAY – Drivers traveling after dark will find the going easier and brighter as they pass through Fairplay. The lights should dim after burning in, but for some they are too bright.”The landing strip? It’s horrible,” Fairplay resident Linda Kocourek said. “Where’s the dimmer switch?”The streetlights come courtesy of completed work on a drainage improvement project on Highway 9 that included new pavement, curbs, sidewalks and streetlights. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) project began early this summer.

It was funded by the town of Fairplay, grants from the state Department of Local Affairs, federal Enhancement Funds and CDOT. The original scope of the project was limited to drainage, but as the plans were described in several town meetings, the board of trustees began to see the wisdom of installing streetlights at the same time as the highway construction along the town’s main street.Using $82,000 of town funds that included $45,000 in grant money, the staff laid out plans to light up the street with Victorian-style lamps that also include outlets for holiday and other event decorations. As the lighting project unfolded, local sponsors covered partial costs for 31 streetlamps, providing $2,100 for each light in return for a plaque commemorating the donations. About $12,800 of the town’s cost was defrayed by the local sponsorships. When the switch was thrown for the first viewing of the new lighting, some townsfolk were a bit startled by the lights’intensity.

“People would tell me, ‘I like the new lights, but they’re really bright,'” Fairplay Mayor Rachael Edwards said. “They shouldn’t worry too much,” said resident Richie Parsons, who is a former fire chief for Copper Mountain. “We had the same thing with the lights there, and they will burn in after a while and not be so bright.” Many drivers welcome the new lights. “I think the lights and the sidewalks make the town seem really friendly and welcoming,” said one woman as she passed through Fairplay.Police Chief Dave Gottschalk said the lights are great for public safety, especially on moonless nights, to increase visibility for both motorists and pedestrians. Town public works manager John Schmidt said the road construction is only the beginning of more projects to improve the town’s look.

Schmidt plans to pave more than four miles of town streets with chip and seal material this summer as a joint project with Park County, and envisions streetlights on portions of Front Street’s commercial area.In the future, drivers heading for Summit County may see changes to Highway 9 as it passes through Alma, as well. A road and drainage improvement project is scheduled for that town in 2006, with some work scheduled for this summer to re-route town water mains in anticipation of the CDOT project. Marie Chisholm, grant writer for both towns, said funds are already committed for the $1.4 million project. Linda Balough can be reached at (719) 836-2583, or at lbalough@direcway.com.

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