More wattage, new solar lights proposed for the historic district.
BRADENTON BEACH – The merchants on Bridge Street have been trying to get more light on their front yards for the safety of their customers and it looks like it will soon happen.
The Bradenton Beach City Commission voted last Thursday to have Public Works Director tom Woodard ask Florida Power and Light (FPL) to install higher wattage bulbs in the streetlights there while he also looks at solar lights for the street.
Woodard, who already discussed the lighting improvements to the Bridge Street Merchant’s Association, brought two options to the commissioners before the meeting. The first was to replace the 70-watt bulbs to 200-watt ones and upgrade the rusty light heads and arms as part of routine maintenance. The only cost to the city would be an increase in the monthly electric bill of approximately $15 per light. There are five lights on Bridge Street.
The second option would be to have FPL install two or three additional poles and 70-watt lights on the north side of the street to spread out the coverage. The city would not incur any charge for materials or installation, just the $15 monthly increase in the power bill.
That’s when Commissioner John Chappie brought another idea.
"Did you discuss the possibility of solar lights?"
Woodard said no, but he felt that the city would probably incur a materials and installation charge of around $2,000 per light to install solar equivalent to a regular 70-watt bulb.
"We could still cover our costs in a couple of years," Chappie said, comparing those charged from the monthly electric charges.
"They would have to put up solar panels about three feet by three feet," Mayor Michael Pierce said. "It wouldn’t do much for the ambience."
"These lights are for safety," Chappie said. "They wouldn’t be decorative."
When asked how the merchants felt about the options, Woodard said they would like some input on where the lights go.
Commissioner John Shaughnessy suggested that Woodard investigate the solar option and bring it back to the commission, but Chappie took it a step farther, moving to upgrade the existing bulbs and look further into the solar option. Commissioner Janie Robertson seconded it and the commission voted unanimously for the motion.