The old-fashioned street lights have been dark on North Main in Pratt for months but a plan to update and fix them is underway.
The historic North Main Street lights will shine again in Pratt —but not immediately, according to city electric utility director Jamie Huber, who said Wednesday that plans are in place to restore lighting to North Main from Blaine Street north to Hancock, which is across the street from the Pratt Senior Citizen Center.
The lights have been off since mid-October when they were darkened by malfunctions that affected the lights on both sides of the street for four blocks.
“They were series street lights, possibly the only ones left in Kansas,” Huber said. “In series lighting, if one goes out, they all go out.”
Most cities in the state converted from series lighting years ago, according to Huber.
“We’ve just been babying these along,” the city utility director said of the North Main Street lights he believes were originally installed in the late 1930s.
Repairing the original wiring is not an option, so the plan is to replace them in two phases over two budget years.
The lights on the west side of North Main will be replaced first and will be converted to 120 volt LED lighting, Huber said.
The city is now seeking bids for that phase of the work, which Huber said he anticipates to be in the $25,000 range. The goal is for the nine lights on the west side to be replaced this year with the 10 lights on the east side to be replaced in early 2020.
Even though the lighting will be modern, the original posts will be used to keep the nostalgic look for North Main Street.
“We’ll be taking all the poles down this month,” said Huber. “We’ll sandblast them and paint them the original green shade, so they’ll look like new.”