(MILTON, Del.) – The Town of Milton has voted to light up the path of a future bike trail and possibly incur expenses that go along with it. The monetary price isn’t all that residents are upset about.
After hearing from residents and making several motions, the Town of Milton voted Monday night to approve plans to incorporate lighting into Phase II of the Rails to Trails project. In September, construction of Phase II of the project will begin from Federal Street to Lavinia Street.
The final motion that passed with all but one vote was to install all of the electrical infrastructure and lights using boxed lighting fixtures that would be no longer than 14 feet.
$1 million has been approved to construct the trail but installing the lights will require another $175,000. This isn’t the only price residents are opposed to.
“I think it’s too much light pollution,” says Alexander Donnon, who has lived in Milton for 14 years. He doesn’t see a need for the lights and neither do many of his neighbors like Roy Turci who lives right along the trail.
“For us to decide to spend money to put it directly behind people’s homes, we think it’s an ill advised expenditure,” Turci says.
Town Manager Kristy Rogers empathizes but feels the lights are necessary for a trial that will be open 24/7.
She says she understands that the residents do not want that light infiltration into their yards. “I do think that for safety and security, lighting is important,” she says.
Donnon thinks lighting would do the opposite. “If you have lights, you invite more usage, you invite more people that shouldn’t be there too,” he says.
Phase 1 of rails to trails runs from Chestnut to Lavinia Street and it was completed about a decade ago. There are already plenty of streetlights along this path and the residents say that while they may not want the lights near their homes, the businesses along this portion of the trail may actually benefit by them.”
“I’m sure the owners of the commercial properties like the fact that there’s lights there because it does some security for them,” Turci says.
These are different from the boxed lights that would be used along phase II, lights that Rogers says could cost the town $6,000 a year. Deldot will attempt to work some of these expenses into their budget for the project.