Tama's downtown street lights are wearing out and the supply of parts for them is exhausted city officials say.
The lights, along six blocks of 3rd and 4th streets, were installed in November, 1979, as part of a $921,000 downtown revitalization project. The lights and poles are owned by the City of Tama.
Tama Mayor Dan Zimmerman presented his findings from a study of the alternatives ranging from total replacement to cannibalizing existing lights in an effort to keep some operating. His presentation came at the first city council meeting of the new year on Monday, Jan. 7.
The current street lights in downtown Tama were installed in 1979 as part of a downtown Revitalization program which also included ripping out brick streets. The lights are now failing and replacement parts are unvailable.
Ed Hardon, whose company has been maintaining the lights for the city, has been warning parts have become scarce to no longer in existence for the current lights for some time.
Replacing the lights, wiring and poles along the six blocks would carry a $200,000 price tag, Zimmerman said.
Replacing the lights and using the existing poles and wiring brings the cost down to an estimated $43,000, he said.
A third possibility is to use some of the lights at the intersection of McClellan and 3rd streets to fix others which are out. At this corner, there is a set of four lights on each corner with two corners backed up by a nearby set of two lights.
Under the repair plan, the council would await further developments in LED lighting while building a fund to pay for the replacements.
Zimmerman said he recently checked out lighting installed in downtown Belle Plaine. The lights there are the same as proposed for here
He said he found lighting was excellent at intersections but believed it was "kind of dark" in the middle of the blocks.
The Tama replacement proposals do not include the outdoor lighting in front of the Tama Civic Center, Zimmerman said.
City Clerk Judy Welch told The News-Herald a Holophane Lighting company salesperson offered a "rough estimate" that the current cost of operation of the downtown lights is $5,200 annually .New LED lights would bring this down to about $2,200 according to the salesperson.
Council member Robert Tyynismaa questioned the life-span of new lights and also expressed concern about expensive replacements such as encountered at the Tama Public Library. Welch said the library uses five different types of bulbs, of which the cheapest replacements are $15.
Welch said the representative said the new LED lights would burn for 20 years.
Council members are expected to continue to study the lighting issue.
In other business Monday the council:
approved a loading zone for a three-month trial basis for Kathy's Barn which will be opening in the former Curves location at 130 West 3rd St. in downtown tama.
Kathy Meyers, owner, said her business is based upon sales of furniture and she is concerned customers "won't buy if the have to haul (purchases) half-way down the street." She also said she is delivering items to the store location every day making it an additional need got the loading zone.
Meyers said she isn't open yet but already sold six pieces of furniture here last Saturday.
Kathy's Barn will officially open on Feb. 2, Meyers said.
Mayor Zimmerman noted Brad Maus, owner of Maus Furniture and Mattress Outlet, had earlier expressed concerns about parking in front of his store at 229 West 3rd. Council members said they believed Maus was more concerned about th availability of customer parking than a loading zone.
approved a request from the Tama-Toledo Area Chamber of Commerce to use the City of Tama for a Tama County Community Foundation grant application.
approved a housing rehabilitation payment to Quality roofing for 510 Wilson totaling $24,275 as soon as inspection and approval is made y Mike Wentzien, Region 6 housing specialist and John Lloyd, Tama public works director.