At the end of October the city of West Bend posted a survey online asking whether the lights surrounding the buildings added to the ambiance in downtown West Bend?
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As part of the test the lights bordering the buildings were turned off to see if neighbors noticed and to determine whether to spend money to fix the lights.
The lights are sporadic and broken across some of the buildings. The downtown Business Improvement District wants to gauge community reaction to determine the significance of the lights to the downtown, future funding and whether more cost-effective LED lights should be considered.
Early estimates put the cost of investigating the electric conduit at $15,000. It is anticipated replacement of the lights could cost more than the original installation, which was about $100,000.
The lights have been in place since 2003. “There’s definitely a debate on whether they’re important to the downtown,” said Brian Culligan, BID Board member and owner of West Bend Tap + Tavern. “I’d like to know if people think these are important for the landscape or if there are other things we can do.”
Below are the survey results which swing strongly in favor of fixing the lights. The results are expected to be presented at the next BID Board meeting.
Survey results below:
I enjoy the lights….and think it is unique to the area! It adds a welcoming, warm, and charming feeling!
Please leave the lights on its what makes downtown so wonderful
I think they add a unique look and attract tourists, I also believe that, LED lights would be a better replacement!
I like the lights but don’t think they are worth $100,000. It would be nice if a more cost effective alternative could be found.
I think the lights will add to the renaissance underway in West Bend. They have been viewed as a positive by our guests from other towns and has drawn them back to downtown for dinners and shopping.
Whenever I drive through downtown, it gives you a feel of ooh and awe, how peaceful and beautiful. Cederburg also have lights that outline their buildings. The lights bring character to the city. Without the lights, downtown looks like a dead city.
The cost might be $100,000, but over 10 years that is $10,000 / year. I would also think you could get some “private” funding for this.
Keep the lights. It’s good to have an attractive city.
Let’s be energy efficient
It makes it have a softer look. Gives down town a more inviting feeling.
The lights are a nice addition but they MUST be maintained, not like they have been.
Do NOT replace with led bulbs!! They are not warm and welcoming at all!!
The lights make downtown feel more welcoming in my opinion.
I like the lights
It’s so beautiful with the lights on. Kind of like or own magical piece of the world. Very welcoming.
Dark and dreary without them
I love the ambiance and light for safety the little lights provide. People come to West Bend because it’s quaint. If it is decided to not have them on, at least turn them on during the holiday season.
The Christmas lights are a nice touch too! The ambiance and glow makes downtown feel warm and inviting!
The lights are gorgeous, even if a few are burned out. They add a wonderful charm to our downtown. Light them back up, please.
It warms the soul to see the lights lit! Let’s not lose that special touch!. light up. ! Let
I just don’t think it would be downtown west bend without them
West Bend needs these lights especially for more downtown charm and since they don’t decorate with lights for the holidays!
The lights give downtown an inviting community feel. They add character and give our downtown an attractive look.
This will be money well spent!
There is nothing downtown West Bend has to offer. Very sad for a city as big as West Bend.
I love the lights downtown!
The lights around the buildings were installed as part of the Main Street Program, and funded, in part, from Germanfest. They make a statement when they are on and are working. With the restoration of Old Settler’s Park, that makes the lights even more important. Having the lights on during many of the events that take place in Downtown West Bend, adds an ambience that isn’t found in other communites.
West Bend after dark has changed. More lights and more security are necessary to keep patrons coming.
The lights add a really nice touch to the downtown, They make the downtown pop
It’s a waste. Fix the roads
It would be a shame to not continue the direction of the city in revitalizing the downtown. The lights add to the charm of the downtown atmosphere and I hope that the city will continue to support the revitalization to encourage more businesses and make West Bend more desirable to visit.
We love the lights! It makes the downtown look so quaint and cozy!
I feel that the lights on the roof tops
Please repair them and leave them on … the lights are one thing that stands out about our quaint downtown. Thank you for doing the survey.
I suggest that you replace a few buildings at a time with LEDs rather than all at once. The place gets dark without the extra lighting.
The upfront cost of switch to LED is a win win in the long run. Maintenance cost once lighting is installed should be next to nothing. Was it necessary to spend money on this survey?
Very nice look for downtown
Update the lights to the newer LED technology. In the long run, it seems that lower maintenance and cost of operation would prove beneficial. Either way, there is no denying that the building lighting (when functioning properly) adds warmth to the downtown. With many of the buildings now occupied, it’s important to keep momentum going… the lighting keeps the downtown inviting and creates the impression of vibrancy.
If this were Cedarburg, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. West Bend does nothing to promote its downtown, and should be ashamed.
Building owners/BID responsibility
The lights add a nice feel to the downtown area. However, 100K is a lot for a nice feel.
The lights looked good but considering the cost I don’t know if I’d keep them on.
We often drive downtown at night with our son just to see the lights. Please keep them on.
Replacing missing bulbs would seem more affordable than replacing with all new lights. We have come so far in downtown improvements, so why do away with that now. It’s so charming!
I live in area lights are in view
Love the lights but 100k is too much. How about some colored spots throughout downtown?
It looked darker
I believe the lights are a real financial drain and was against them when they first went up
West Bend has such a charming downtown that has the potential to continue to grow and improve through supporting the arts, restaurants and small businesses downtown. Investment in the maintenance and improvement of downtown will serve to increase tourism, grow business and improve our entire West Bend community.
Have you considered solar lights, or another source of power?
With no lights on, downtown looks like a ghost town. Thank heavens the West Bend theatre marquee is lit. A lot of people volunteered at Germanfest to pay for these lights, what a slap in the face to turn off the lights. Anything you have requires maintenance sooner or later. Again this was POOR PLANNING on the city’s part. Our downtown is rather pathetic.. You might shop around and get a better price. TURN THE LIGHTS BACK ON.
It has a very classy and warm look with the architecture bordering of the lights.
The lights really make the Downtown pop with an attitude of coolness. It takes you back in time when the center hub of the city had pride. If you make and area look good and not just plain vanilla you might just see a revitalized downtown shopping and entertainment district. Please don’t let the dollar be a driving force to the blight that will follow as a dying community center of activity.
The lights draw your eyes downtown, without them the city looks dead!
The lights really make downtown look great…please find a way to get them fixed
Please investigate other options to repair lights or light them only in the winter time
The lights are one of the attractions that separate our downtown from other communities. We have enchantment, farmers market, museum, many restaurants and pubs, along with nearby parks. Upgrade and keep the lights! Where would you like to spend $100 for an evening out? Kewaskum? Jackson? Maintain one of our city’s jewels. Downtown without lights is like a Christmas tree without decorations.
It appeared to be very dark down there without the lights.
The lights are charming, if we want to compete with Cedarburg and make our downtown a destination then we needs these lights and more improvements! It would be a shame to see them go. Upgrade them and go LED but not the bright light ones but a Amber or soft light. LED could also be color changing ones too for the holidays or special awareness. We could have red and green for Christmas, orange for Halloween or fall, green for st pats etc etc.
I really like the idea of the LED lights. It makes the downtown look cohesive. With the newly designed ‘monkey island’, it will be a treat to spend evenings walking the downtown area. It might even attract more businesses and maybe even a different type of business.
Keep our downtown vibrant and classy.
It really does set downtown apart from any other downtown in the area. It is also very inviting during Christmas time.
Personally, I do not view the lights as worth the cost. If others do, and want to spend their money on it (eg BID members or fundraising), more power to them. I wish them good luck! Also, while going through downtown with only the street lights, the bright white streetlights DID catch my eye. I am glad that downtown has the bright white streetlights and not the typical dull yellow version. If the lights along the buildings could be replaced with LEDs (or something) that is long lasting, energy efficient, and bright and inviting looking, that would be more tempting for me to invest than just repairing what is currently in place.
The LED street lights lost the warm downtown feel. Those upper lights are necessary
I firmly believe the lights add a charm and appealing ambiance to the downtown area. The 15,000 for the survey work is worth it.
Our downtown does not have enough retail stores to justify the cost on a year-round basis
I think it looks attractive and adds a nice touch to the downtown area.
The lights are a very nice feature
I believe it would be a significant detriment to our tourist industry and the vitality of downtown to turn the lights off. There is always a cost to make “your” downtown look inviting.- Ask Cedarburg. I would bet they agree.
I think that there should be more cost effective means explored, and there should be information readily available about what we are using now
The lights “dress up” the downtown so well; it’d be a shame to extinguish them. Hard to believe that it costs $100,000.
The building lights are great. It’s noticeable when they are off or don’t work. Convert them to LED. Over the past decade, when parts went out, it looked terrible. LED lighting is more efficient and reliable. They’ll last for a very long time too.
Individual building accent lighting would be better
To me the lights tie the downtown area together, if only along Main street. I was impressed when they first went up, and like the look. Yes there is upkeep, and maybe some alternatives can be looked at (LED, Solar powered with electric back up?), but if you want our downtown to stick out, there needs to be some uniqueness to how it looks. The bridge issue being addressed would/should also help. A themed look should be part of the discussion also.
I don’t own a business but work at one on Main Street and one of my favorite things is the lights on the buildings and the street lamps! Beautiful!
the lights need to be warm the street lights are so white they ruin the ambiance of the downtown. I think you could do without the building lights, if the other ones were warm bulbs.
I think we need to do whatever is possible to enhance our downtown district to make it inviting. If new lights are in that equation lets go for it.
We completely agree with all of Chris Porter’s reasons as to why to keep the lights on.
I have told people for a long time that if I ever win the lottery, two places that I would donate money toward would be the lights on the buildings, and to refurbish the West Bend Theatre sign.
Absolutely, you must keep the lights if you hope to have a viable downtown. Without them the place looks abandoned. Please do whatever is necessary to keep the lights on in downtown.
keep the lights!
The lights are one of the only good things about downtown West Bend, as so many of the buildings have fallen into disrepair.
Light is welcoming. It makes people want to stay in the area. Surrounding towns are working on bringing businesses to their downtowns – we need to be doing that AND creating an environment that encourages people to stay and shop. The lights are an added touch that helps to create an ambiance of welcome in our downtown. Do not turn them off.
the lights make the down town special. With the lights on there is an inviting feel to the down town. the lights add a special ambiance and you want to be there.
I thought without the lights, it seemed very cold in the downtown. With the lights, it feels like a warmer place.
the lights are important for the downtown!!!
The light adds so much atmosphere to our Downtown in West Bend!!!
The downtown district is finally making a comeback and this is a very nice part of the whole downtown experience.
They really make a difference, the needed repairs will be even more apparent as the improvements to building facades and renovations to Settlers Park are completed. It is the heart of our community!
The lights add a significant amount of character to the downtown area which would be a shame to lose.
Quit sitting on our money, waiting for Main Street to open to Hwy 33