The city of Independence says the conversion of all streetlights to LED lights is complete, which officials say will save money and leave the air a little cleaner.
“This is going to make Independence a healthier environment for folks to live in,” Mayor Don Reimal said during a brief ceremony Thursday afternoon. The ceremony was at the National Frontier Trails Museum, where the streetlight out front, at Pacific Avenue and Santa Fe, is the last, officially, to be changed.
Since last June, contractors have been swapping out old mercury vapor and sodium vapor streetlights – 11,400 of them across the city – for LEDs, which use one-third of the energy and are made to run 100,000 hours, roughly 20 years.
The project cost $4 million, but Independence Power and Light says there’s a fairly quick payback because the city is saving $300,000 a year on electricity and $150,000 on maintenance. The LEDs have a 10-year guarantee and officials expect little in maintenance costs during the next decade.
IPL Director Leon Daggett said when he was interviewing for the job several years ago, City Manager Robert Heacock said he wanted a hard look at the idea. Resident John Pennell had been pressing for the idea, and now Independence is among the larger cities in the country to make a complete conversion.
On Thursday, Pennell read a Missouri Senate proclamation commending the city.
“When you do something good,” Pennell said, “people take note of it.”