2018-09-06 / Views

Reader's Forum:

Northport pitches in for streetscape
By Kathy Garthe and Sherry Koenig

The following is a more accurate depiction of the fund-raising effort in conjunction with the Northport Streetscape and Street Light project:

Early in 2016, Northport was awarded a federal grant through the Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay to be used to reconstruct Nagonaba in a way that would reduce the amount of storm water runoff into the Bay. After receiving this grant there remained $225,800 of expenses to be raised in order to bring this entire expanded project to fruition since the project now included 21 dark sky streetlights and the associated electrical infrastructure to make it possible to install the lights. The lighting infrastructure would be installed at the same time that the runoff reduction work was done.

In the spring of 2017, the Leelanau Township Community Foundation gave a grant of $51,000, the Village of Northport pledged an additional $55,000 and an anonymous donor contributed $50,000. These contributions would cover the cost for the two electrical controllers and additional conduit needed to reach from the street to each light as well as to place wiring in the lights.

What was left to fund were the streetlights themselves, the electric conduit to each light, and some smaller incidentals, such as a banner and flower basket brackets.

In May of 2017, we launched a campaign to buy and install the streetlights while the watershed construction was underway. Each streetlight cost $3,500 and many generous donors from the community, including organizations and individuals, funded all 21 lights!

In addition, we are working with the Village to fund the incidental additional expenses by selling engraved pavers. A 4x8 paver costs $100 and allows for two lines of text and an 8x8 paver costs $150 and has room for four lines of text. Street light donors are celebrated with an engraved 12x12 paver at the base of their donated light.

We believe this is a great example of a community working together in a public-private partnership. Between the Village, the Leelanau Township Community Foundation, and community members, we made this project come alive.

Thank you for clarifying the financial part of the story for your readers.

About the authors:

If you named an Northport all-star team, Kathy Garthe and Sherry Koenig would be starters. The two have been involved in many, many community-minded projects. They emailed after a news story ran about the streetscape project, asking for space to explain in more detail the fundraising effort and high level of community support involved.

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