This is what Traverse City residents expect from their city-owned utility, not empty threats to put an end to holiday lights along Front Street.
Traverse City Light & Power recently confirmed plans to remove the wooden poles and wires along Bay Street in the next month, a project that includes taking down a large, blue-and-white striped utility pole painted to look like a lighthouse.
That's good news for city resident Glenn Blow and others who will be glad to see the maze of wires and poles that loom in his backyard come down as Light & Power proceeds with plans to bury power lines along Bay Street.
"It's going to be fabulous. Those wires are a big eyesore," he said.
The $1.5 million Bay Street project is one of several projects Light & Power is taking on over the next few months. The Bay Street project should be "99 percent complete" by July 1, while two other efforts are just beginning.
The galvanized steel "lighthouse" should be gone by July 1, but some cleanup, landscaping and work to remove the tower's concrete foundation could continue after that, said Jim Cooper, the utility's manager of communications and energy services.
Light & Power is also planning what it expects to be a year-long project to rebuild an electrical circuit in an area south of Eighth Street and north of Hammond Road.
The utility also expects to begin within 30 days work on a new east-side substation at Four Mile and Hammond Roads. Work should be completed by July 20.
These are the kinds of projects city residents and Light & Power customers expect, not hollow threats. When the city essentially demanded Light & Power contribute $1 million from a $30 million surplus for the bayfront makeover, the utility proposed eliminating downtown holiday lights to save $97,000 to offset the $1 million "donation." That idea was quickly quashed.
Burying power lines along Bay should be just a start; burying lines will go a long way toward beautifying the landscape anywhere it's done. The $1.4 million project to rebuild the circuit around Eighth Street out to Hammond Road will include replacing more than 100 poles and putting up eight miles of wire. Imagine how much nicer that area would look if those poles went away and the power lines went underground.
Bay Street is a start. We can hope for more to come.