Let there be streetlights: Springfield moves forward with plan

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Installing new streetlights to illuminate downtown Springfield will cost an estimated $8 million the city doesn't have.

Instead, the streetlight project will be broken down into phases. The first phase from Pioneer Parkway to 5th Street along Main, plus design of phase two, will begin with $220,000 in existing urban renewal funds.

The city will seek grants to continue the project from there.

The project is part of an ongoing effort to transform downtown Springfield into a thriving commercial and civic core.

"We've been getting more and more people all the time, and we want to be able to light the way for them a little bit better," said merchant Karen Hageman.

Hageman and fellow merchants took a walking tour of downtown in May to scope out the darkest corners spots in the area. The result: a proposal for an $8 million lighting project.

"The benefits are having really good lighting that will cover the whole street and sidewalk area and it will also be very attractive," said Brian Barnett, the city's traffic engineer.

The mayor likes what she has seen so far - and hopes federal funds might be tapped to further the project.

"Right now there is one block that's done already on A Street," Springfield Mayor Christine Lundberg said. "It's an example of what all of the lighting will look like."

"It will brighten it up," the mayor added. "It'll make people notice coming downtown, that they'll be able to recognize all the hard work that the merchants have done."