Merriam to upgrade to LED street lights along 53rd Street with help of federal funds

Merriam street lights

Ten old street lights in Merriam on 53rd Street between Merriam Drive and Switzer Road will be replaced with 19 new LED lights. The project will be funded, in part, by federal money through the Community Development Block Grant program.

The Merriam City Council this week unanimously approved a $70,000 federal Community Development Block Grant application to pay for 19 new street lights along W. 53rd Street between Merriam Drive and Switzer Road.

53rd Street running between Switzer Road and Merriam Drive. Image via Google Maps.

Why it matters: CDBG grants, administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, are earmarked for community development projects in areas of low to moderate income levels.

With Johnson County’s relative affluence, HUD grants the county a waiver in which 43.46% of households should be at or below moderate to low-income — rather than 50% — in order to receive funding for a project.

The details: Merriam is replacing 10 “cobra head” street lights on W. 53rd Street with 19 LED street lights that have become the standard across the city.

It is a $128,000 project, with $70,000 coming from the CDBG grant, $40,000 from the city’s capital improvement plan fund and $18,000 from the public works department.

Key quote: “[LED street lights] provide much better illumination of the neighborhood which promotes folks getting outside and walking, meeting with their neighbors,” Community Development Director Bryan Dyer said. “It also provides increased safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists.”