On Friday, April 18th, Blanco Mayor Pro Tem Ron Houston, awarded Knights of the Milky Way citations, signed by Mayor Jim Rodrigue, to two local businesses in recognition of exceptional night friendly lighting at their facilities. Riley’s Bar-B-Q/Rockin’ R Steakhouse on 4th Street and Benson Body and Paint on Hwy 165 were both recognized for exemplary foresight and consideration of community in the design and installation of their outdoor lighting.
The lighting fixtures illuminating the outdoor signs on Riley’s Bar-B-Q and the Rockin’ R Steakhouse shine down onto the signs as opposed to shining upwards and into the night sky as do many other lights in town. Lights that shine upwards contribute to light pollution and create the sky glow that has robbed many Blanco citizens of an unfettered view of the Milky Way. Additionally, the sidewalk lights that illuminate the ground around the two restaurants for customers entering and exiting the businesses at night are all shielded, thereby preventing both light trespass and light glare. No one is blinded by the lights as they pass the establishments. In addition to being night sky friendly, the lights have an old fashioned, “retro” look that is very much in keeping with the rural, small town character of Blanco.
The lighting on Benson’s Body & Paint Shop is equally exemplary but of an entirely different character. Benson’s outdoor lights are “security lights” that are on at night as a deterrent to prowlers. The light fixtures, however, are of the “full cutoff” design meaning that no light escapes above the horizontal plane. “I chose those lights on purpose,” said Dobie Benson, owner, “They are full cutoff parking lot lights but I mounted them as low as possible on the building to prevent the light from shining off the property and then reduced the wattage from 250 to 175 because I didn’t need that much light to do the job. This also cuts down on the amount of electricity used and saves me money.”
Both these business have installed lighting that is adequate to their needs, but is night friendly at the same time. Businesses eager to do their part to fight light pollution and reduce Blanco’s sky glow are encouraged to look to these two businesses as an example of how to get it right.
Businesses or individuals wishing to know more about night sky friendly lighting can contact Wayne Gosnell at 833-0586 for information and recommendations.