By Cynthia Germain
New light fixtures throughout the city of Sturgeon Bay offer not just energy efficiency but reduction in night sky light pollution. Jim Stawicki, General Manager at Sturgeon Bay Utilities, oversees the the efforts of placing and replacing street light fixtures and notes the changes in the two styles of light fixtures in the city. The cobra head LED fixtures, typically at intersections and on residential streets, began being used two years ago. The lights are far more energy efficient and have a complete top cut off so there is no light bleeding into the night sky. In the downtown area, approximately 40 decorative LED light poles have been replaced on Madison Avenue. Previously, the decorative light fixtures around town were clear globes that cast light in all directions. Representatives from the city and Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center worked with SBU to determine a style that kept the character of lights throughout the city. These new lights have one-quarter of the top cut off so they throw less light into the night sky. Stawicki is pleased that the new LED light fixtures also save on on both maintenance and energy.
Stawicki notes that SBU will do additional ornamental lights along Maple street to Lansing, then up Jefferson Street as well as portions of Kentucky and Louisiana. The cost of the new fixtures is approximately $3,000 each so there is a schedule over the next five years for replacement before existing lights become problematic. Other work that SBU expects over the coming months include underground work to replace overhead service on the South Lake Michigan Drive area, reducing issues of tree trespass and saving utility and ratepayers in the long run. In addition, they continue to work through the pole replacement program. There are approximately 9000 poles in the system, some 40-50 years old, and over time these poles are tested and replaced on a schedule, with current work including the entire length of Shiloh Road.