October 23, 2014

Streetlight to be installed at Standish’s four corners

City installing new water meters

Posted

STANDISH — Motorists and pedestrians should have an easier time seeing at the intersection of M-61 and US-23 soon, following the approval of a new streetlight there by the Standish City Council.

In a unanimous vote, the council agreed to install a new, 35-foot wood streetlight there, at a $100 installation cost by Consumers Energy.

City Manager Curt Hillman said he had received complaints about the intersection, and while there has been only one fatality there in recent history, the council still felt it was dangerous to leave it unlighted.

Hillman said it took some time to figure out a location for the light. He said the Michigan Department of Transportation controls the area around those roads, and MDOT insisted that its safety data showed the intersection did not need a streetlight.

Hillman wanted to see lights hanging off of the existing poles that are used for the traffic lights, but MDOT did not approve it. The city did find a spot to put up a streetlight, however: in front of the Standish Historical Depot.

“There’s a stake in the ground in front of the depot’s welcome center sign,” Hillman said. “We would be putting the pole in at that spot.”

“It will light the intersection, but we will give up the aesthetics,” he added.

Councilman Ed Reno said he believed safety should trump aesthetics, a stance the rest of the council echoed.

During the council’s September meeting, Hillman said MDOT did not want to share its electrical pole with Consumers Energy.

There is no set time for the new pole to go in, as Hillman is working with engineers at Consumers Energy to see if there is any alternative to a plain wood pole that would be a bit more decorative and conducive to the aesthetics of the area. If no alternative is decided upon, Hillman said a wooden “cobra” pole — essentially a pole with the light at the end of a long arm — could be installed in a week or two.

Hillman also reported to the council that the city has received its new radio-read water meter equipment from the Portland, Mich.-based Municipal Supply. Installation by the city’s Department of Public Works started Jan. 14.

Standish took out a loan last year to pay for the meters, and the council authorized $115,515 for this shipment. Hillman said about 90 percent of the equipment and parts needed are in at this time, and more will be ordered as city workers face unexpected, case-by-case stumbling blocks installing them.

The city is planning on replacing the existing water meters in the city with ones that can be read via radio signals. The existing meters can take a few days for workers to read, and parts are no longer being made to repair them.

City workers will be able to simply drive down the street and read the new meters without ever having to step out of their vehicle, Hillman told the council in September.

The radio heads can be upgraded to a fixed-band system down the line as well, he said, which would allow the city to simply put up a few radio towers to receive all the information without needing to go out at all.

The city received a loan of $175,000 for the installation, though all of that money may not be necessary. Hillman said the DPW was installing the new meter heads at a pace of 10-12 per day, though they have found more meters that are too old to be refitted than expected. Those meters need to be replaced entirely, a process that takes longer.

“We may not need the whole $175,000, but we got it in case we need it,” Hillman said. “We knew we had a fudge factor to help get it done, because we didn’t know what we’re going to run into. Some of those homes, we haven’t been inside in 50-60 years, so don’t know what style of meter is in there.”

He added the city will have a good record of what meters are where in the city once the project is complete.

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