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Case Study Portland, Michigan

Is your municipality considering ornamental street lighting?   Is there clarity in understanding the expected benefits and how to maximize the return on the investment?

Portland, Michigan is a municipality that determined ornamental street lighting would assist in rejuvenating their downtown business district.    The city also wanted the ability to utilize ornamental street lighting as an asset in their marketing and branding mission. 

To validate the best pole options available, the city public works department made the determination that there would be a test and review period.   The testing would consider the material of the product and the aesthetics of the product, inclusive of paint or powder coat finish.

The city installed and evaluated six poles.  The poles were manufactured with different materials and by different manufacturers.  Cast Iron, Steel, aluminum, and concrete were the materials selected.   The evaluation period would subject the poles to the four seasons of Michigan weather.   Michigan winters can be harsh.    Ice, snow, thawing, and freezing will test the best of materials.   Road salt and de-icing chemicals also proved to be a challenge.

Portland, MI

After the evaluation period, the decision was made to move forward with poles manufactured with a cast iron decorative base and a steel pole.   The determination was that the combination of a cast iron base and steel pole would provide superior strength and durability.  When the total estimated life of product, inclusive of maintenance was considered, the best return on the city’s investment

For the selection of the light fixture, the key consideration was optimal light distribution, combined with a warm color temperature light source.    The warm color temperature would provide a sense of safety and comfort to the downtown business district.

VISCO, Inc was honored to be the manufacturer chosen by the City of Portland, Michigan to provide the ornamental light poles and light fixtures for their downtown revitalization project.   The year was 1983.

Moving forward to 2017, VISCO reached out to the City of Portland for an update.

Mike Hyland is the director of public works (41 years) for the city of Portland, Michigan.   VISCO recently interviewed Mr. Hyland for an update and was pleased to be advised that the poles have continued to meet expectations and have validated their overall return on investment calculations.   The maintenance of the poles has consisted of two re-painting cycles.  The most recent painting of the poles was the summer of 2016.   Outside of chips in the finish from stones and pebbles and other roadway debris, there has been no significant failure of the outer finish.   There also have been no corrosive effects from road salt or de-icing chemicals.   The City of Portland, Michigan has continued to purchase poles and light fixtures from VISCO, also adding cast iron bollards and traffic standard bases.   Mr. Hyland advised that the bollards are installed near a flood plain and have held up against flooding, and freezing and thawing.  

The initial VISCO product manufactured for Portland, Michigan has been installed for over 33 years.   Would aluminum or fiberglass last 33 years?   Total cost of ownership is a critical consideration in placing a value on any investment.  

Is your municipality in a similar position that Portland, Michigan found itself in 1983?  Do you require an ornamental street light product that will provide the greatest value over the course of its lifetime?   Do you want to personalize your product as added benefit that will assist in expanding your municipalities brand / identity?

For tips on items you may want to consider in the selection of your municipalities new ornamental lighting project, please call VISCO at 1 800 341 1444 and we will email you a copy of our latest solutions guide.