Low bid leads to new lights

Lancaster City Council has agreed on a bright idea regarding the latest phase of its Streetscape beautification project – literally.

The city is working with a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant it received to go toward beautification efforts on South Main Street, to run from Emmons Street south just past the city limits near South Avenue.

The city is putting up $354,000 of its own money for the work, which will include new sidewalks and curbing. This is the sixth phase of the city’s Streetscape series.

At its Tuesday, Aug. 14, meeting, City Council voted unanimously to accept a $469,132 bid from Sossamon Construction to do the work.

City Administrator Helen Sowell said that bid is considerably lower than the $624,000 budgeted for that portion of the project.

That left the city with $154,867 in remaining funds to use.

Instead of removing that remaining total from the project budget, City Council’s vote Tuesday means it will spent $107,954 of that amount on street lights.

The remaining $46,913 (10 percent of the construction cost) has to be kept for contingency.

Sowell said this is the second Streetscape phase in which the city bought lights. Prior to the previous phase (No. 5), the city leased the lights from Duke Energy.

Before Tuesday’s vote, council members asked project engineer Brian Tripp which option is better: to buy the lights or lease them from Duke Energy.

“There’s positives and negatives of doing it both ways,” Tripp said. “I think there will be some savings in the long run if you have them (the lights) under your control.”

Smaller monthly payments to Duke Energy was mentioned as one of those benefits.

“I think ownership is the way to go,” Councilman John Howard said.

By Jesef Williams, Staff Reporter with The Lancaster News