Glass City River Wall to get solar-powered lighting, costing Toledo taxpayers $500k

Those same solar panels will power the East Toledo pump station
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 11:47 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - One half million dollars. That’s how much the City of Toledo will pay out of the general fund to light the Glass City River Wall mural.

The money is part of an estimated $1.5M project. It calls for installing solar panels to power both the new lights and the existing East Toledo pump station.

“We are able to, with this project specifically, earn our money back over time with the cost-savings of powering the East Toledo pump station. So, in effect, it sort of feels like we’re pre-paying on our electric bill, in a way. Plus, we get this added benefit of the tourist boost,” said Councilmember Carrie Hartman, who co-sponsored the legislation along with Councilmember Nick Komives.

Every councilmember voted for it, except George Sarantou.

‘Well, I voted against it because I think $500,000 out of the general fund is a lot of money,” said Sarantou, who adds the money would be better reserved for emergencies and projects that involve public safety. “The tornado that we had that hit North Toledo and Point Place, that cost us at least $200,000 in overtime cost to clean up the area, to pick up the tree limbs and to clean up all of the damage that we done there.”

“I think one of the other important things here is that we’re going to be using this as a way to power a pump station that we use. So, that will represent about $460,000 that we would normally pay to First Energy to provide power for our pump station, that we’re going to be able power with solar panels that will also light up the mural,” countered Komives.

The solar panels will be donated by First Solar and installed by Perrysburg Energy. Once lit, the largest mural in the country will become the largest illuminated mural in the world.

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