Lake Worth has seen the light… like 4,000 of them.
As part of an ambitious $23 million project to brighten the city’s skies, Lake Worth is replacing all old city street lights — more than 4,100 — with LED bulbs officials say will save the city $250,000 annually in energy costs.
The city is also switching out 950 lights on Federal Department of Transportation-controlled roads — Lake Avenue, Dixie Highway, Federal Highway and Lucerne Avenue.
“Brighter lights, safer streets,” City Commissioner Andy Amoroso said.
LED lights typically use 80 to 90 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs and have a longer lifespan. The city will also add 150 LED lights to some of the city’s darkest streets.
The project, which started with test lights in December, is two months ahead of schedule, said Electric Utilities Director Jack Borsch.
The city has replaced 40 percent of the lights. FDOT’s bulbs haven’t been switched yet since the city recently got approval to go with lower heated lights, Borsch said. Those are on order and are scheduled to be delivered within 12 weeks.
Borsch said Lake Worth is the first city in the state to get approval for those types of lights on state roads. The project should be completed late summer, he said.
The city will also paint the city’s street light poles — green and black now — all green. Commissioners were hoping to have the poles painted black, but Borsch said it’s cheaper to go with green.
Amoroso said he would like FDOT’s poles to be painted as well.
“They are in need of repair,” he said at this past week’s commission meeting. “They’re rusted, buttons are broken. Why we’re doing all these renovations … let’s reach out to fix the FDOT (poles)”
While Borsch said 95 percent of residents are happy with the new lighting, there are those who have complained they’re too bright.
“People don’t want the lights in their backyard and some are saying they shine in the wrong place,” Borsch said. “But we can make adjustments.”
Commissioner Christopher McVoy said the concerns are valid, noting he was under the assumption shields were to be placed around the lights so they wouldn’t shine so bright.
“The lights go out sideways,” McVoy said. “You don’t want that intruding into your property.”
Vice Mayor Scott Maxwell said adjustable lights were never a selling point or part of the discussion.
“We can’t have 1,000 different points of view on what these lights should look like in neighborhoods,” he said. “There’s no easy fix for this. Everybody gets the same lights and we need to stick to the original agreement.”