They blazed the path and now they’re going to light the way.
With a new sidewalk already paved along Highlands Boulevard, keeping pedestrians out of the road, Port Jefferson officials are now working on installing streetlights on the route.
The village board of trustees on Monday approved spending $28,000 for Flushing-based Welsbach Electric Corp. to put in eight decorative streetlight poles and light fixtures along the winding sidewalk, between the entrance to the Highlands condominiums and Oakland Avenue in uptown Port Jefferson.
That dollar figure is higher than an original $17,000 cost approved in August. Mayor Margot Garant explained at Monday’s board meeting that the village needs more lighting than initially expected.
“We had originally contemplated putting three Dickens lanterns in,” she told the trustees, referring to the antique-style streetlights the village uses. But the “village lanterns are not known for their best illumination. So if we were to light [it] properly, it would need one Dickens lantern every 50 feet.”
However, the bumped-up expense, which will come out of the village’s surplus if the public works department budget cannot cover it, does not represent the entire lighting cost for the stretch of sidewalk. That price tag would have been “more than we have in the budget,” Trustee Larry LaPointe said.
Instead the village will put in the eight streetlights, 150 feet apart, according to Garant. “Just to give it some light at this point in time, and then we can fill in as we continue to go.”
The streetlights will use LED bulbs.
The new roughly 0.2-mile sidewalk on Highlands Boulevard has been in the works for a while, with the idea first coming up a few years ago, when residents coordinated an effort to petition the government to preserve the village-owned grassy area along the road. It was discussed as a safety issue because pedestrians had to walk in the street to get from the condos to the uptown business district.
Board members approved a parkland designation for the 6-acre grassy parcel earlier this year, a move that limits the land’s future use or development. Village officials have discussed the possibility of adding benches or walking paths there, but have expressed a desire to keep the park’s use passive.