The Spring Cleanup and free dump at the landfill was very successful this past weekend with many residents taking advantage and hauling a great deal of trash and debris out to the dump. The City’s tire collection and cleanup is also continuing with a large number of old tires brought into the Recycling Center on Ave F for the recycling company to haul off and shred for their processes. There is still room in the trailer for more tires, and if you have just not gotten around to bringing them in, don’t hesitate to call the City office at 347-6449 and see if we are still collecting them. When we fill the first trailer, if we feel that there is enough demand we can easily get a second trailer, and make a note that this tire recycling effort is open to everyone in Mason County not just City residents.
The City is continuing to improve some of the little things around town so that the whole of our community is better than it has to be. A couple of months ago I wrote about the change that we had made, with the help of Alpha Beta Psi a local ladies service group, to LED overhead lights at one of the small recreational parks that we have. That park is regularly used by neighborhood kids to play basketball and gather to visit in the evenings, and the additional light that the LED fixture provided vastly increased the safety and visibility in that area. I mentioned at that time the fact that we were using this first fixture as an experiment to see how well it performed and suggested that if we were pleased the City would be using more to replace street lights in other areas of town. Well the evidence was immediate and very positive, and a month ago the City placed an order for another dozen of the LED fixtures with the idea of replacing the lights on the highway portions around the Square.
Two weeks ago the new light fixtures came in and the City electric department replaced the cobra head lights on the north and east sides of the Square with the LED street lights. That first night I was astounded at the transformation and change that the new lights made to the visibility and thus to the safety in the downtown area. These lights are significantly brighter and the extra light provides a reasonable level of lighting in the parking areas and sidewalks as well as much better lighting in the traffic lanes. The best part is that each light head has 150 independent LED lights that use 30% less energy to provide so much more light on the ground to help visibility and reduce maintenance as well. If you have not come downtown after dark in the past couple of weeks, you need to take a drive and see for yourself how much better the Square is lit on the two sides that have been changed out!!
In the past week I have had a couple of conversations that will result in more LED lights around the square. I was talking with Bobbie McMillian about the remodeling being done at Commercial Bank, and I suggested that an LED light replacing the street light illuminating their parking lot would be much brighter and more effective. She agreed and then I asked if the Bank would like to “sponsor” replacing the street lights in front of the Commercial Bank and along the west side of the Square, and she readily agreed that this would be a great idea. This change will provide the added benefit that people attending movies and other events at the Odeon Theater will have much better lighting in the parking areas at night as they come and go and that should greatly improve the visibility and safety of everyone in that area.
Today I was talking with George Brannies at Mason Bank and suggested that they too might want to change their lighting behind the Bank, and at the same time “sponsor” the replacement of the street lights along the south side of the square where Mason Bank is located. He too agreed to this improvement, and so we will proceed to order more LED lights and have the City crews change out the fixtures as soon as they arrive. Soon the entire Square will be well lit at night and pedestrians as well as cars and trucks will enjoy a well bright and safer place anytime they are downtown after dark.
One added benefit in addition to the brighter light, combined with greater electrical efficiency, is the fact that all of the light from these fixtures is focused down. This results in much less light pollution into the sky and improves the dark sky environment that we enjoy here in the Hill Country. We will be emphasizing this more in the coming months, but I believe our community benefits from enjoying a sky full of stars every night, as opposed to the bright lights of the metropolitan areas that make the stars disappear and make the night sky nothing more than a dull glow for everyone. If you or some organization would like to “sponsor” more LED lights in some area of town, I would be glad to talk with you about the benefits and costs. Alpha Beta Psi has said that they would like to add more lights to the parks in the next several months, and the City will be glad to work with anyone who would like to help improve our community. Mason is a great place to live and together we will continue to make it the best hometown in Texas.
Your friend and neighbor, Brent Hinckley