City lights up for day of romanceTwo weeks after the lights went out in Afton, they were switched back on — and it was all in the name of love.
By: Amber Kispert-Smith, Woodbury Bulletin
Two weeks after the lights went out in Afton, they were switched back on — and it was all in the name of love.
The city’s historic gas lamps were extinguished in January due to budget constraints, but at the city council meeting on Feb. 11, the Afton Area Business Association pleaded with the Mayor and members to turn them back on for Valentine’s Day to woo customers into the businesses.
“It’s really important that our city first of all looks like a city, because we are the only city around that doesn’t have any lights,” explained Kathy Jarvis, the owner of the Afton House Inn, speaking after the meeting.
“We want it not only for the safety aspect, but people don’t like to drive through a dark town where it doesn’t look like everything is open — it looks like the whole town is closed up.”
In its 2008 budget, Afton City Council set aside a sum of $3,500 to cover the lighting of the gas lanterns on special occasions.
At the Feb. 11 meeting, it was decided that Valentine’s Day constituted one of those special occasions, and council member Peg Nolz proposed a motion to switch on eight to 12 lights from Feb. 12 to March 5.
Mayor Julia Welter and council member Nick Mucciacciaro also voted in favor, meaning the city of Afton will enjoy its gas lights a little longer.
“I’m happy we have a temporary solution for Valentine’s Day,” said Jarvis. “I think a solution is long overdue with these gas lights, because they have been leaking and they are really high maintenance.”
In a written submission to the city council, Kathleen Feehan, the president of the Afton Area Business Association stated: “We are requesting that arc lights be placed on the power poles until an alternate lighting solution can be found.
“We are further requesting that the city of Afton take steps towards a long term solution to the inefficient lighting on the city streets.”
The city is currently working with Xcel Energy to provide interim lighting for the town while a long term solution is found.