CLINTON The brightest city in Davis County may well be Clinton.
With its special street illumination program, the city appears to have many times the standard street lights of a typical city.
More than 1,300 light poles are scattered throughout town, the densest concentration being in subdivisions, according to Dennis Cluff, city manager.
On average, the lights are approximately 200 feet apart, but even less than that in subdivisions.
In fact, once you notice the high frequency of street lamps, it becomes easy to know when you are within the city boundaries.
"It's better to have a well-lit community," Cluff said. He sees it as a safety issue, leading to fewer burglaries and less vandalism and a more comfortable feeling for residents after dark. "It creates a more livable city."
The decorative lights aren't cheap. Cluff said they cost about $1,700 to $2,000 apiece and the city's electric bill runs an extra $68,000 a year. Add in the ongoing maintenance costs and Cluff estimates the total at $85,000 annually.
Light poles with thicker cores are placed along the city's main thoroughfares, he said. The more costly poles can also hold banners and flowers. In fact, blooming flowers hanging along some of Clinton's main streets have turned into a seasonal favorite for the town.
The plan to make oodles of street lights one of the city's hallmarks, began in the early 1990s, soon after Cluff took over as city manager.
"I noticed it was dark here," he said.
Cluff had lived in other towns and helped convince the City Council to change its ordinances to foster more lighting. Eventually, city leaders selected a more decorative, bulb-type light as its model and began to install them in all new subdivisions.
A retrofit program that is now about a decade old has added 10 or more new street lights annually in older sections of town.
"It's a crime deterrent," said Bill Chilson, Clinton's police chief. "It's a safety issue and has been a plus to have the extra lights."
He believes more Clinton residents are out walking and jogging after dark because it is lighter and safer. In winter, the long nights make the lights an even greater asset.
Cluff said there have been a few cases where some residents haven't liked the extra light pouring into their windows because they prefer sleeping in the dark. The city has added some light shields in such cases to dim the brightness.
Otherwise, it is much more the opposite.
"It's mostly people asking the city when they will have the lights," Cluff said.The lights haven't been installed where there is no development or sidewalks.
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