The long-awaited Village of the Arts lighting project is once again on the move.
Bradenton Public Works Director Jim McLellan said a contractor has been secured and pre-construction meetings are ready to begin.
After months of ad hoc committee meetings between city staff and village business owners, the city in January 2015 approved spending $120,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds, with expectations that the project could be concluded by the end of 2015. That didn’t happen, but as the process continued the city authorized additional funding, bringing the project total to $195,000.
While the city purchased the new historic-style light poles early in 2015, the 53 new poles have sat in storage for more than a year. In early 2016, the city released an invitation to bid for installation and was hoping to have a contractor on board by April. That didn’t happen either, but fast forward to mid-October, and the project designed to bring a better sense of security to the village is once again ready to begin.
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As part of the overall project, the existing 125 lights in the village have been retrofitted with light-emitting diode fixtures. That was completed in late 2015, with many village residents and business owners saying that has made a big difference.
“It’s much brighter already,” said Mystic Village owner Dawn Collins after the existing lights were retrofitted by city crews. “The previous lights emitted this dim yellow light that wasn’t very effective.”
Collins, who operates a lot of night events, said her customers were already feeling safer.
McLellan said the new lights will be installed in areas where there is no pedestrian-level lighting.
The project is expected to take about 90 days, but Ward 3 Councilman Patrick Roff said village business owners need a timetable “and a message in place that we are moving through on this, so they don’t think nothing is happening when, in fact, much is happening.”
McLellan said he would have a construction schedule later this week.
“The contract time allowed is 150 calendar days to substantial completion, but preliminary talks with the contractor indicate they should be able to easily beat that time,” McLellan said.