–Prepared by several city and township residents who are patrons of Buchanan Park. 5/4/09
Where are these pole lights to be placed? The plan is for a row of boulevard-style pole lights, erected along the western boundary of Buchanan Park. They are to be parallel to the row of maple trees and placed between the sidewalk and the curb in the 400 and 500 blocks of Race Ave.
Whose idea was this? John Fry, F&M president, was quoted in Intell news story (Apr. 28, 2009), as saying that “additional cameras and lighting will be added in the Race Street area this summer”. In an email, the reporter quoted Fry that “the project would involve the Buchanan Park area”.
Why does Mr. Fry want these additional lights and cameras? Most likely to protect the parked cars of F&M students who park their cars on Race Ave. next to the Park and walk to their campus dorms.
Why don’t these students use on-campus parking? There are only 370 parking spaces on the Main Campus (south of Harrisburg Pk.), shared by administrators, faculty, staff, visitors and students.
When did the City learn of F&M’s plan? The City first learned of F&M’s plan from a College neighbor. The City then contacted the College. This was several weeks prior to Mr. Fry’s announcement in the Apr. 28 Intell news story (quoted above in paragraph 2).
Who owns the land where these pole lights would go? The City does. It’s public property.
Who would pay for the pole lights and for the electricity that they use? According to the PP&L representative for this area, the cost of the pole lights and the wattage used would be in the City budget. These costs would be included in the property taxes paid by city property owners.
There are overhead street lights in those two blocks. Is more light really needed for general security? The City should have the city engineer do a light audit to see if more light is needed.
If such a study finds that more light is needed, are there alternatives to a row of pole lights alongside the Park? Yes, there are. Perhaps stronger wattage could be used in the existing overhead lights. Perhaps the current orange-tinted shields on the lights could be replaced by clear glass shields, allowing more light to shine through. Perhaps pole lights could be erected instead on the opposite (residential) side of the street, provided those homeowners approve the plan.
Have the homeowners in the Park neighborhood been consulted about F&M’s plan? No. As of this date (May 4, 2009), they have received no information about it nor has their opinion been asked.
Would any of these maple trees need to be trimmed or to have branches removed to avoid interfering with the lights and/or cameras? Definitely, yes. The City would need to reduce or to completely remove many of the lower branches. Notice the tall pine trees near the Park’s northern border, next to F&M’s Service Driveway, for an example of severe pruning for lights and cameras.
Would pole lights affect the appearance of the Park as seen from Race Ave.? A park patron, who was asked this question, said: “A row of pole lights would detract from the charm of the trees and the beauty of the park. The Park would not seem as welcoming. A row of pole lights, similar to those on the F&M campus, would make Buchanan Park look more like the campus and less like a park.”