December 19, 2009 in Washington Voices

New lampposts stay dark for the holidays

Special LED lights ordered for Market Street project
By The Spokesman-Review
 
Pia Hallenberg photo

A new light pole – minus the light – is one of 92 installed during the Market Street revitalization project.
(Full-size photo)

As part of the Market Street revitalization project, 92 light poles were installed on new sidewalks. These decorative, black light poles have outlets for holiday lights and holders for seasonal banners.

There’s just one problem: There are no light fixtures on them.

“We can’t seem to get a clear answer as to when we’ll get the lights,” said Dave Griswold, chairman of the Hillyard neighborhood community development steering committee and the neighborhood’s main liaison with the city and the Washington State Department of Transportation during the Market Street revitalization.

Anticipating that the light poles would be ready to use when the revitalization project was completed this fall, the Greater Hillyard Business Association purchased strings of white minilights to put up for the holidays.

But because the lampposts are not complete, the holiday lights will stay packed away until next year.

Marlene Feist, spokeswoman for the city of Spokane, said the lights that will top the poles are special decorative luminaries that use state-of-the-art LED technology.

“To get what we needed, we ultimately had to go through a sole source contract process, which took a little extra time,” Feist said. “Because we’ve never used this kind of light before, we also had to do some testing, which also set us back a bit.”

Feist said the luminaries are supposed to arrive just after the first of the year.

During Saturday’s neighborhood planning meeting, the revitalization of Market Street was repeatedly praised by neighborhood residents and businesses as important for the neighborhood.

“We lost zero businesses and opened three new ones during the revitalization,” Griswold said, to applause. “Hillyard really is changing its image.”

J.R. Sloan of the Greater Hillyard Business Association said this is not the end of the world, but it would have been a nice end to the revitalization project.

“What a terrific story to end an ugly ordeal for the residents and small businesses that would have been,” Sloan said. “Holiday lights on Market Street light poles for the first time ever, just in time for Christmas.”

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