You asked: Who decides where street lights go?
Editor's note: The following is part of an Echo Press feature, "You Asked." Readers are invited to send the newspaper a simple question and we'll try to get to the bottom of it.
You asked: Why are there streetlights popping up all over Tabberts Addition, which is both in and out of city limits?
The answer: To simply put it, the streetlights were installed because of safety issues, according to Kelly Beilke, clerk of LaGrand Township.
Tabberts Addition, located off of County Road 44 in LaGrand Township, consists of such streets as Tabbert Road NW, West Meadow Lane NW, Donna Drive NW and South Darling Drive NW, which also connects to County Road 22.
The LaGrand Township board recently put into effect a streetlight policy, noted Beilke. In essence, the policy states that the township board will look at an area and decide, based on the amount of traffic, children living in the area and safety concerns, if a streetlight is warranted.
The streetlights, which are a minimal cost, are paid for by the township with money from its taxpayers, she added. The money comes out of the township's health and safety budget.
This year, a total of 10 streetlights were installed - three around Tabberts Park, four along South Darling Drive NW and three behind Lincoln School, which is also part of LaGrand Township.
"These areas are very dark and during the school year, there are many kids that have to stand and wait for the bus in the morning," said Beilke. "This was a big safety concern."
She also noted that the amount of streetlights put up this time around was more because the township got a better deal.
The township board contacted Alexandria Light and Power (ALP) to purchase the streetlights, which Beilke said are the most efficient style of lighting available.
Al Crowser, general manager of ALP, noted that ALP sells the electricity for the streetlights to LaGrand Township, and because the areas where the lights went up are not in the city limits, the township board bought and paid for the hardware and the cost to install the lights.
According to ALP's electric service policy, the Alexandria Board of Public Works will provide adequate, metered street lighting in developed areas within the city. Typically, lights will be placed at intersections in developed areas. However, there may be cases where more street lighting is warranted, which include, but are not limited to:
Larger than normal blocks.
Hills or other obstructions.
Special or unusual traffic patterns.
In addition, the policy states that ALP will not provide or install customer security lights. New security lights will be installed, maintained and repaired by the customer. ALP will provide metered electric service for the security lights as it would for any general service customer, according to the policy.
Readers may send their "You Asked" question to Editor Al Edenloff, Echo Press, P.O. Box 549, Alexandria, MN 56308, fax it to (320) 763-3258, e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.