July 2, 2016

Mostly clear

Council to replace lampposts

MEDINA — Following weeks of deliberation, City Council put to rest a debate that began in June and has stretched into August about what lampposts will line the historic downtown.

Council this week agreed to spend up to $36,000 to replace lampposts around Public Square.

For more than a year, eight lampposts have been missing from a nine-block radius. The posts were removed last summer for safety reasons after structural issues were detected. The majority of lampposts in the downtown area were erected in 1925.

Since then, city officials have teamed up with members of the Community Design Committee to find replacements. The big debate was lower costs versus consistent design.

For the committee, the decision was simple — design over cost.

In June the committee suggested posts from Union Metal of Canton, at a cost of $2,575 each, which caused Council to hiccup. Because of the price tag, Council members wanted to look at all options available.

Union Metal’s competition, Main Street Lighting, of Medina, offered a lower price — $1,650 — but the design was different from the posts in place.

The most significant variation was in the shaft, between the base and the crown. Main Street offered a 7-foot-2-inch shaft.

Union Metal would provide an 8-foot-4-inch-shaft. The lampposts around town are 8 feet, 6 inches and have a 3-foot base.

Union Metal also would supply a 3-foot base, but Main Street’s would be 3 feet, 6 inches.

Both companies could have created a cast to fit city specifications, but that would have cost more, and Council rejected that option.

“For 44 years, that has been our focus for the community design: How things look in our community,” committee representative Roger Smalley said at Council’s Finance Committee meeting this week. “Those are important. … If we don’t fight for those things, then eventually they will be gone. What we’re recommending is something that looks as close as possible … that’ll look like what we currently have.

“Design is important and we have slipped away from it in so many ways,” he told Council. “If we don’t fight for these things, they will be gone.”

Ward 2 Councilman Dennie Simpson said the extra cost would be worth it.

“I will vote to keep the light structure as close as physically possibly to the ones that currently exist,” he said.

Ward 4 Councilman Jim Shields agreed: “I just don’t want to compromise or sacrifice anything on the uptown square.”

Council agreed and approved Union Metal on Monday night for at least nine posts.

At-large Councilman John Coyne suggested the city take it a step further.

“I don’t know if we should stop at this number of lights,” he said. “Maybe we should have a couple on hand.”

Council then voted to have some spares on hand in case other vintage posts showed signs of failure. In all, members agreed to spend up to $36,000.

Service Director Nino Piccoli was asked to look into the possibility of a quantity discount, with instructions to return with a request for more lights if a price break could be agreed upon.

“The fact that we’ve lost eight here recently tells us that others might have important issues,” Mayor Dennis Hanwell said.

“We did do a walk-around and structurally they seem sound now.”

It is estimated it will to take 12 to 14 weeks to make the replacements.

Contact Dani Orr at (330) 721-4049 or dorr@medina-gazette.com.