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Athens City Councilman Patrick McGee listens to a speaker during the city council meeting on Monday, January 14, 2019.

City Council: Members hear plan for city-owned LED lights, street closure requested for International Street Fair

The Athens City Council heard from Morgan Melendrez of Tanko Lighting on Monday regarding converting Athens streetlights to LED lighting.

Two-thirds of all Athens streetlights are rented from American Electric Power, Service Safety Director Andrew Stone said. This costs the city around $2,000 a year. The new proposal would involve the city taking ownership of all streetlights and then switching to all LED streetlights.

“You’d certainly be ahead of the curve,” Stone said. 

Switching to LED lights would help save Athens energy and money. There would be a predicted 60 percent drop in Athens’ utility bill, Melendrez said. 

“It would be 2.1 million dollars in energy and maintenance savings that the city would realize (in twenty years),” Melendrez said. “The project would pay for itself in under five years.”

The new streetlight plan would also allow the city to redesign its own streetlight layout. This would allow for both Ohio University and City Council to have say in the placement of streetlights in Athens.

“This is very relevant and applicable,” Councilman Kent Butler, D-1st Ward, said. “Auditor Hecht, myself, and the mayor recently had a couple of city meetings in which lighting comes up as a concern for safety and welfare of our citizens.”

The council also heard from the president and vice president of OU’s International Student Union about a street closure proposal.

President Carla Triana and Vice President Ami Scherson requested that the portion of East Union Street between Court Street and University Terrace be closed off for the International Street Fair. The closure would take place between 7 A.M. and 6 P.M. on April 6.

The street fair would take place during the same weekend as mom’s weekend. The Rotary Club of Athens also requested a road closure on the same day, but Councilman Peter Kotses said that the requested was denied in order to preserve the day for the street fair.

Last year the street fair took place at the same proposed location, Kotses said.

The council also discussed softening the salt at the water treatment plant. The current operations at the plant have been working better than expected, which will allow the city to request less salt than usual.

“We are requesting the authority to bid 400 tons less this year than we did last year,” Stone said. “We don’t need to bid that much anymore.”


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