In August of 2019, right before Labor Day we started to explore the restoration of the up lighting at Unqua Circle. Our group reached out to Joe Davis, who had been maintaining the island for as long as anyone can remember with the hope that he had knowledge of the old lighting, the infrastructure in the ground and any unforeseen challenges we may run into. We advised Joe the Civic would like to restore this element of the shores to its former glory. Excited about the prospect of this restoration project, Joe wanted to add a flagpole and some new trees on the south side of the circle that had to be removed from previous storms. We all agreed to begin moving forward and a project was born.
Once the fall approached, the flagpole was installed. Shortly after the groundcover was removed we began scoping and working the project. The flag was lit with temporary lighting in the interim...this is where we started to find out this would be a much larger undertaking than anyone anticipated.
Santiago Montoya set up the temporary lighting and immediately noticed an issue. The timer we used for the holiday lighting, that powered the many outlets we had at the circle was not working correctly. Off turned the power on, and On turned the power off. We had one usable plug bank on the 100amp power panel that worked, so we lit the flag and agreed it needed to be assessed quickly.
While soliciting volunteers to do this work and planning on how to fund it, the fact that the power did not work correctly sent up red flags. Joe Davis asked Tom of Bay Village Electric to come look at the issue as soon as possible. He identified the current electrical set up was not viable due to wear and his team discovered we had a ground wire that had been severed in the air due to a downed tree limb that struck the cable to the pole. PSEG was dispatched that afternoon to fix. The real alarms went off when Tom also discovered all of the old light receptacles were "hot" in the ground which was a major safety issue. Our options were to repair everything or cut the power to the panel. Safety was our first concern, but we also needed to have the repairs addressed to accommodate our annual holiday tree lighting.
The need to accelerate the restoration was clear due to safety concerns, but the ability to fund the repairs was going to stretch the Civic budget more than we anticipated or had on hand to do it correctly. We agreed to move ahead with the repairs, but it was suggested that we reach out to the neighborhood for assistance. Our neighborhood responded...overwhelmingly. Within 48 hours of discovering the problem, the electrical and lighting was repaired, donations from our neighbors covered the entire cost and we were even able to restore the lighting to our West Shore Island and flagpole.
Take a bow Nassau Shores. It started with an idea, discovered we had a major problem and in a time of genuine crisis, we all came together as one neighborhood to solve it!
"it takes a village and we have an amazing village"
Island Lighting Restoration Project
Old Lighting Cans with Live Wires