Driver damages antique Westwood Hills lightpost, restored just last year, beyond repair

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In September more than two dozen residents of Westwood Hills, the tiny norhteast Johnson County town of just over 350 residents in 167 sought-after homes, gathered around the corner of 50th Street and State Line Road to dedicate a restored light post at the Westwood Hills shops.

After months of fundraising efforts, the town was excited to bring electricity back to the antique fixture that had been installed back in the 1920s but that had sat dark for decades.

Eleven months later, the pole is down, damaged beyond repair after a single car accident last month. According to Mayor Paula Schwach, the driver of the car is a teenaged resident of the city.

“I was very disappointed by the event,” she said. “I was relieved that he was not seriously injured given the amount of property damage to an iron lamp post and a parked car.”

The driver was issued a citation in the incident, but that’s little consolation to the group of volunteers who spearheaded the effort to raise the approximately $10,000 it took to return light to the post last year. Schwach said that since the original pole cannot be fixed, the city intends to replace it with a replica.

“We have filed an insurance claim with the driver’s provide,” she said.

Dozens of Westwood Hills residents gathered last September for the dedication ceremony for the lightpost.
Dozens of Westwood Hills residents gathered last September for the dedication ceremony for the lightpost.