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Dark Skies streetlight upgrades will have to wait in Paonia By lisa young Staff Writer Nov 27, 2019

Paonia residents will have to wait a bit to find out which lights the town will choose to install after a delay by DMEA.

Dark Skies of Paonia continues to work with Delta/Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) and the Town of Paonia on upgrading nearly 100 streetlights to dark sky friendly, energy efficient LED lighting.

The town is in the process of choosing between standard 4,000 Kelvin (4k) color temperature lights or the proposed dark sky friendly 3,000 Kelvin (3k) lights. In addition to choosing between the lights, trustees will also decide whether or not to have additional shielding installed.

According to a recent letter by Paonia Dark Skies and Aaron Watson, the 3k and 4k lights are the same price and full shielding will cost $12 per light if ordered upfront. The cost would increase if the shields were retrofitted after the installation. With a dozen 4k lights already installed, Watson said it would cost the town a little over $3,000 to upgrade the shields for the 3k lights.

“Going with fully-shielded, 3k streetlights is a big step towards dark sky certification for Paonia and will set a great foundation for the quality of life in our town,” Watson said, adding, “Thanks to DMEA and the Town of Paonia for working with us on this.”

Corinne Ferguson, interim town administrator, said she updated the board concerning the proposed new street lighting during the regular business meeting on Nov. 12.

“I provided an update, letting the board know that we are waiting for DMEA to install a couple of alternatives on Second Street near where we have one of the existing 4,000 Kelvin LED lights. DMEA has ordered a 3,000 Kelvin which is a dark sky friendly light fixture as well as a hood that you can use on those type of lights and they’re going to install those on Second Street on either side of an existing light so the community, the board of trustees and public safety can view the difference before the board makes their final decision.”

DMEA contacted the town recently to notify it that it will not have the lights until mid-to-late December.

“There won’t be any follow up or discussion regarding the street light update until the first or second meeting in January,” Ferguson said.

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