King City officials join residents for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the installation of new solar streetlights along Jayne Street. (City of King)

KING CITY — City of King has completed construction of new solar streetlights along Jayne Street, bringing some much-needed light to the area and improving the overall public safety in the community.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Sept. 22 in front of the King City Migrant Center at 440 Jayne St. to dedicate completion of the City’s first solar streetlight project. The approximately $115,000 project, funded primarily by King City Community Power, includes eight new streetlights covering the entirety of Jayne Street.

“King City Community Power was formed to keep much-needed revenue locally for community needs,” said Mayor Mike LeBarre. “That funding is now helping us light our streets to increase safety, security and a better quality of life for our community, which is our top priority.”

The streetlight project came about after employees and residents in the area expressed concerns of how dark it was at night when they walked to their vehicles. (City of King)

Increasing streetlights was one of the highest-ranking priorities identified by the community in a citywide survey, as well as one of the goals of King City Community Power when it was formed four years ago.

The solar streetlight program is the final phase of a three-phase program to increase streetlights throughout King City. The first and second phases were completed in 2018, which included converting existing lights to brighter LED lights and installing more than 100 new streetlights throughout the community on existing utility poles.

According to City Manager Steve Adams, Jayne Street was selected as the first solar streetlight project site after the City received input from the employees and residents of the Migrant Center and pre-school located on Jayne Street regarding how dark it was at night when they walked to their vehicles.

The need was also identified through a civic engagement program called EnLace, which is operated by the Monterey County Health Department.

A dedication ceremony is held at the King City Migrant Center located on Jayne Street to celebrate the new solar streetlights. (City of King)

“Employees and residents of Jayne Street have expressed their appreciation, and indicated (the streetlights) have made a big difference, particularly for families that start work early and drop off their children at the daycare program while it’s still dark out,” Adams said.

He added that solar-powered streetlights were selected over traditional lights in the area for a number of reasons.

“First, they are powered by the sun, which means they do not cause greenhouse gases and makes them less expensive in the long run,” Adams explained. “Second, they are much faster and easier to install because the City does not have to connect them to the PG&E power grid. Third, they are ideal for this location because Jayne Street does not have many large street trees that would block the solar panels from the sun.”

Currently, there are no other solar streetlight projects in the works, but Adams said the City would like to expand the program to more areas if funding becomes available.

“It will depend on the availability of future funding and priorities of the King City Community Power program,” he said. “However, the City intends to expand the program to other streets and is working on identifying and prioritizing future locations.”

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Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for South Monterey County and the surrounding communities.


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