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Clear Spring lights up streets historically

July 06, 1999|By MARLO BARNHART

CLEAR SPRING, Md. - Preserving the town's historic look in the wake of sweeping modernization won't be cheap, but the Clear Spring Town Council showed Tuesday that it's prepared to pay the bill.

A total of 16 "modern design" street lights will be removed to make way for 24 old-fashioned lights, all of which were obtained through donations of individuals and groups.

The cost to the town will be the electric bill from Allegheny Power.

The existing 16 lights cost the town $10.53 each a month, a rate that was frozen under an old contract, according to Clear Spring Town Clerk Nancy Keefer.

The old bill totaled $168.48 a month or $2021.76 a year.

The new lights will cost $16.92 each or $406.08 a month to operate. That comes out to $4,872.96 a year, an increase of more than $2,850 a year.

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The town will continue to maintain several of the old lights on some side streets, meaning two bills will come each month from Allegheny Power instead of one, Keefer said.

"We know a lot of the townspeople are in favor of the new lights," said Vice Mayor Julie Albowicz. She said a citizens' committee worked hard to raise all the money for the new lights at no expense to the town treasury.

Dennis Crosby, a downtown resident and former council member, noted how much effort and money had gone into making the lights project a reality.

"Even if it costs $2,000 more a year to run them, it will be worth it," Crosby said.

With a unanimous vote, the council agreed.

"If we don't do this, there will be an outcry," said Councilman Mason Mundey. "I think we can spend $200 a month out of the street fund."

When the new lights were first suggested, the Town Council was unsure if the existing lights could be eliminated in favor of the new, historic models.

A recent meeting with Allegheny Power representatives cleared up the confusion on that issue. When the street work begins in earnest, the old lights will come down and the new ones will be installed.

After some problems and delays, the work to rebuild the town's main street - U.S. 40 - sidewalks and curbs is to begin in a few days, said Mayor Dave Hose.

While that work is proceeding, a major sewer line repair project is set to begin on July 15.

The Town Council officially accepted a $250,261 state grant and a $190,100 low-interest state loan Tuesday to get the job done, according to Julie Albowicz, who serves as the town's sewer commissioner.

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