City streetlight survey nears completion

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By Kellie Parkin

A survey of Cedar Key’s 158 streetlights is 75 percent complete, Public Works Coordinator Josh Wilson reported at Tuesday evening’s City Commission meeting.

The survey is looking at three factors: whether or not each light works, supplies appropriate illumination, and hangs at an effective height. Twelve to 15 percent of the lights surveyed so far require repair.

The commission discussed lumen footprints, and the negative effects of light pollution.

“We have some fixtures in some areas that are too high and over-lit,” said Mayor Heath Davis. The mayor does not want total uniformity, however. “I don’t want them all to be the same height and same fixture. I like how it looks. It tells a story.”

The commission discussed ways to modify the lights to make them Starry Night/Dark Sky friendly as well as decrease electrical costs while still serving the needs of the community.

Commissioner Scott Dennison recommended equipping residential lights with cut off shields to lower light pollution. The collar-like shields direct light downward in a concentrated fashion, he said.

Given Cedar Key’s reputation as a popular destination on Florida’s Nature Coast, the commission agreed that it would explore the costs of decreasing light pollution.

“I remember as a kid that what was one of the great things about Cedar Key is how you could look into the sky and see – several orders of magnitude greater – the stars,” said Commissioner Pat O’Neal.