In November, Metro Mayor Sloan Stewart informed the Metropolitan Lynchburg Moore County Council that a light pole had fallen in Wiseman Park, just days after the annual Jack Daniel World Championship Invitational Barbecue.
The pole was apparently extremely decayed. While the county was fortunate that no one was injured, it became obvious that due to the condition of the fallen pole, the other poles in the park needed to be checked for decay as well.
At that same November meeting, Stewart recommended to the Council that any current projects at the new Metro Lynchburg Moore County Park on Main St. should be placed on hold until the situation with the light poles in Wiseman Park was addressed.
Stewart had an update for the council at its Dec. 15 meeting.
“I had a company come in and … I know y’all have seen them, they check the Duck River (Electric) poles. They went through, drilled them, treated them,” said Stewart. “I think we had 10 out of 30 that they rejected –– that they said was just rotten.”
After having the poles checked, Stewart sought an estimate to replace them. He said it would cost approximately $1,500 per pole to replace them.
“That’s to buy the pole, install the pole, rewire it and change the lights over, so we’re looking at about $15,000 to $20,000 to replace the poles that’s down in Wiseman Park,” Stewart said. “That’s a rough estimate.
“We’ve got a mixture of poles (in the park) kinda. A lot of those are about 70 or 75-foot poles. The poles that I am looking to go back with are 45-foot poles. I don’t think we need the big tall poles anymore. I mean we’re not playing games there. I know they do practice down there. I just don’t think we need the big tall pole.
He added that because the poles would be different heights, there’s the possibility of dropping the lights from the taller poles down to the level of the shorter poles to make the lighting in the park uniform. Stewart said the issues with the light poles were scattered throughout the park and were not isolated to one particular area.
“It wasn’t all the big poles,” he said. “I thought it would be more of those; I was actually surprised because I think those are the oldest poles down there on that far end. (Southeastern Electric) came in and they drilled them and they treated what they could and they rejected those (10) … they was just mush.”
Stewart said he was also shocked at how much damage and decay there was to the pole that fell on Halloween night, just days after the annual Jack Daniel’s barbecue, an annual festival that typically draws about 20,000 visitors to the area during the three-day stretch in late October.
“(The pole) was gone,” he added.
Council member Amy Cashion asked whether or not all 10 poles needed to be replaced or if they could be relocated considering there are very few athletic teams that use Wiseman Park.
“Could the lighting be reconfigured so we wouldn’t have to have as many?” asked Cashion.
Stewart said that while he was considering not replacing as many, actually moving the poles to a new location would be a difficult task, and possibly more expensive, because the wiring for each pole runs underground and is already in place.
“We’d have to go back and retrench to move them very far,” Stewart said. “That would be the only thing. With the wiring underground, we’d have to go back and reroute it.”
Tommy Brown made a motion to approve up to $20,000 out of the Capital Projects fund to replace the damaged poles. Patrick Maynard seconded the motion and after no further discussion, the motion passed unanimously via a roll-call vote.
“We’re gonna try to start on that right after the first of the year and maybe get that project done and gone,” Stewart said, adding that Duck River Electric would be getting the poles for the county, which should save some money.
The poles would be delivered to Duck River Electric’s lot where Southeastern Electric would then have access to them.
—ROBERT HOLMAN, editor & publisher (firstname.lastname@example.org)