Gadsden, county partner to secure federal grant for lighting upgrades

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On Tuesday, May 14, the City of Gadsden and Etowah County Commission announced their joint application for a federal energy efficiency grant that will bring upgrades to more than 50 streetlights around Gadsden. The city council and county commission entered into a memorandum of understanding in January to seek the $78,540 in funding available through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency Conservation Block Grant program.

The funds will be used to upgrade city-owned streetlights along the Tuscaloosa Avenue corridor, the Carver Community Center complex, the boardwalk at the Gadsden Mall near the James Martin Wildlife Park, and on River Road from Highway 411 to the Hampton Inn. The new light fixtures will feature light-emitting diode (LED) components which will reduce energy consumption while extending the life of the street light.

“It’s a win-win any time you can get new street lights for free that also save local tax dollars on the city’s power bill,” said Gadsden Mayor Craig Ford. “We want to thank the Etowah County Commission for seeing the need in Gadsden, allowing us to take up the mantle to apply for the grant and partnering together on this project. By working together, we made sure Etowah County received its share of these federal tax dollars.”

The City of Gadsden’s facilities maintenance department will handle the installation of the replacement light fixtures, while Etowah County’s finance department will assist with reporting and documenting the grant funds. These lighting upgrades complement recent upgrades to LED fixtures done by Alabama Power Company on streetlights managed by the company throughout Etowah County.

“The county is happy to assist in facilitating this grant for Gadsden, and we look forward to seeing these upgraded lights around town very soon,” said Etowah County chief administrative officer Shane Ellison. “We want all of our cities to be well-lit, not only for improved safety but also because it makes a difference when we bring in prospective business and industry leaders to show off our county. They look at things like lighting, infrastructure, and maintenance. So, we are always happy to support efforts to clean up and beautify Etowah County.”

The city expects to have the fixtures within 4-6 weeks of ordering the fixtures and, once they are in-hand, will work to install them within a month. The county will purchase the fixtures and submit the pre-approved reimbursement vouchers from the Department of Energy for repayment.

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