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Thorsby makes strides with park lighting

The town of Thorsby is ready to begin Phase 2 of its lighting improvement project in Richard Wood Park, which will involve the installation of concrete light poles and several new lights.

Phase 1 required the placement of 10 lights around the perimeter of the park and an evaluation of how many additional fixtures would be needed for adequate lighting.

The town’s Swedish Fest Committee came up with the idea and donated $14,000 toward the new lights. The money was raised from two years of Swedish Fest events. The remainder of the project is being funded by half of a $12,500 grant from Rep. Jimmy Martin.

“We’ve been really pleased with how much light they give off and the whole appearance. It really looks nice,” Mayor Dearl Hilyer said.

The 10 working lights are affixed to poles made from PVC pipe. These will be replaced with permanent, decorative concrete poles originally made for the city of Memphis, Tenn. The city turned down a batch of 30 poles because they contained too much brown sand, Hilyer said.

Thorsby purchased all 30 poles for approximately $12,000, and the mayor called it a “good buy,” crediting councilman Neil Benson with locating the poles. He said about 15 would be used in Richard Wood Park, and the rest could be used elsewhere if the council decided to pursue a sidewalk grant.

Had the town decided to wait about purchasing additional poles, Hilyer said they could have easily cost twice as much.

“At first, we were not sure about the number of poles we would need (for the park),” he added.

After the study, Hilyer is confident that five additional lights will be enough for the park’s interior. The cost for all 15 lights was $4,500. There will be additional costs in labor and installation.

The mayor estimated the project could be completed within two to three weeks.

“That park is really the centerpiece of our town,” Hilyer said. “I feel like we have one of the nicest, safest parks in the county.”

The other 50 percent of the Martin grant will go toward improvements in Sam Bentley Park. The town is currently waiting on the Park and Recreation Committee to submit a plan for the improvements.