So, How Illuminating Was Last Night's White Rock Lake Light Chat?

A Chicago "traditional lighting" manufacturer offers one perspective on the proposed lights around White Rock Lake.

Last night's meeting concerning the installation of lights around White Rock Lake got “heated,” says KTVT-Channel 11’s Jay Gormley. (Didn't really look it on WFAA-Channel 8, but, ya know.) Nonetheless, Chip Northrup -- a lake resident adamantly opposed to the lighting plan, as noted in the paper version of Unfair Park a couple of week ago -- says that about 100 attended the meeting, with most overwhelmingly opposed to “what was transparently a good sales job by a lighting vendor.”

Photographs of lights at Fisher Road “clearly showed they glare across the lake, like a motel parking lot,” Northrup writes in an email. Because the fixtures are not “down light” and are the wrong color, they will create light pollution. He adds that an officer from the Dallas Police Department could not justify the lights based on security. “In fact,” he insists, “they said it would not make the lake more secure.” A study was presented that indicated such lights don’t reduce crime.


Northrup also passes on correspondence from the lighting salesman who sold the park department on the lights -- John Rice, at Hossley Lighting Associates on Dragon Street -- to a colleague in Chicago, Paul Mitchell at Sternberg Lighting, which specialized in the kind of "traditional lighting" being proposed for the White Rock Lake lights.

Here's an e-mail from Mitchell, Sternberg's West Region Sales Manager, sent to Rice on May 19. The subject heading is "White Rock Lake":

If there's anything I can do to help on this large project, or anything we can do on the Chicago end, please let me know.

Here's Rice's response, sent on May 20.:


Do you have any of the slides left you took where you inserted me into the slides, or any of the slides you created with the fixture and pole?

Keep in mind that this is HPS [high pressure sodium], and the nighttime shots may have shown more white light, so is there a way to recolor the kelvin color of the lamps? If not, no big deal, but I do not want to set a trap for ourselves. There are several unhappy residents looking for a way to completely stop the project.

We have done nothing wrong. It wan always an HPS job, always a 20' pole, and the residents have had 4 years to be upset.



Northrup writes: “Note that they are proposing high pressure sodium bulbs [orange crime lights]. And they are proposing ‘acorn’ style fixtures that are designed to put light out horizontally, not down. So the special fixtures spec’d for White Rock job have louvers placed inside the fixture in an attempt to shine the light down. Parks could have just ordered vandal proof shrouded fixtures at Graybar Supply.”

The Dallas Morning News today reinterates the park department’s stance on the lights. But, for now, the city has suspended the lighting project and says a new master White Rock Lake plan will be developed that is more “environmentally friendly” and could reduce the type and number of lights.

Dallas City Councilmember Sheffie Kadane, who didn’t seem to have a clue about this issue two weeks ago, now has it all figured it out. “All of a sudden they flood this one parking lot,” he told Gormley. “And it’s like you’re lighting up a baseball field or something. That’s not what we want.” --Glenna Whitley