BURLINGTON – After being postponed until the end of the May Town Meeting warrant, the members passed an item calling for $1,100,000 to complete the Ornamental Street Light Project on Mall Road.
Portions of Mall Road do not have the LED ornamental lighting, so the purpose of the warrant article is to upgrade the road’s electrical system with the necessary wiring and lighting.
Several years ago, the Department of Public Works (DPW) completed an Ornamental Street Light Replacement Pilot Project at the intersection of Mall Road and South Bedford Street to improve the street median of Mall Road. Following this project, two abutters to Mall Road have contributed to extending the same improvements in front of Lahey Hospital & Medical Center and The District Burlington.
The need for this budget request is due to not enough abutters ready to contribute to improve the lighting project on Mall Road.
“This is a long-term project envisioned by [former Town Administrator Robert Mercier] in 2005,” detailed Town Engineer Thomas Hayes. “The lights on Mall Road were antiquated and with the road being a showpiece of Burlington, we wanted to entice businesses on the road to invest, which The District Burlington and Lahey Hospital & Medical Center did.”
Hayes added, “There is not a lot more development at this point beyond South Bedford Street, so it is time for us to finish this project. The lights have to be replaced and we have to invest in the infrastructure on Mall Road to make it look that much better.”
With The District Burlington and Lahey Hospital & Medical Center doing their part, the town will now do their part and fund the rest of the lighting infrastructure needed on the road.
“The purpose of this project is to combine the needed wiring upgrade with the ornamental upgrade and complete the three remaining gaps,” explained Hayes, noting the gaps are Cambridge Street to South Bedford Street (East), South Bedford Street (West) to Lahey, and Lexington Street to Middlesex Turnpike.
The $1,100,000 project will be funded through the DPW Operating Budget and Street Light Account savings. As is the case with the ornamental lights that exist on Mall Road today, the new lights will be “Dome Style Luminaire” rather than the “Cobra Head” lights that have been on Mall Road and the area’s highways for over 30 years.
“It is an investment in the infrastructure of the town,” Precinct 6 Town Meeting member Sonia Rollins said in support.
Postponed, then passed
When this matter was first heard, it was decided that a postponement until the end of the warrant was necessary because the Capital Budget Committee did not get to analyze and make a vote of recommendation on it.
DPW Director John Sanchez expounded as to why, “We do a thorough review of the capital budget articles with the Capital Budget Committee, and somehow, we missed this one. I will take the blame for this. If I knew we missed this article when reviewing all the articles with the committee, I would have requested for a postponement.”
The postponement saw the matter finally fully heard and voted on at Town Meeting’s final session this past Monday night.
The Capital Budget Committee confirmed they ended up voting 3-1 in favor of the $1,100,000 budget request.
Town Engineer Hayes avowed there are no other plans to install ornamental lighting in town when this project is completed. When finished, the only areas of town with such lighting will be The District Burlington, 3rd Ave., 4th Ave., and Mall Road.
Other concerns were addressed, including the reassurance that any cell phone signal tower application requests for the new lights will have to go through Town Meeting. Additionally, the LED lights will produce no back-lighting so residents can continue to enjoy viewing the stars at night.
Town Meeting passed the $1,100,000 warrant article by a clear majority.