City officials will examine the cost and feasibility of installing lighting along the Central Ashland Bike Path, after the friends of a young man murdered on the path presented 1,726 signatures advocating the lighting to the City Council on Tuesday night.
Council members will have a study session on the lighting issue in early 2012.
David Michael Grubbs, age 23, was nearly decapitated on the bike path as night was falling on Nov. 19.
Brittany Hamer, a friend of Grubbs, handed a stack of signed petition sheets to Mayor John Stromberg during the Tuesday meeting.
She and her friends investigated different types of lighting for the bike path and presented their results to the council.
Compact fluorescent lights along two-and-a-half miles of the bike path would cost about $150,000, while installing solar-powered, antique-looking lamp posts along seven miles of the path would cost almost $500,000, they said.
Interim City Administrator Larry Patterson said city staff also have been investigating the cost of lighting the bike path in the wake of Grubbs' murder and found costs could be about $385,000. That figure includes the cost of bringing electricity to the bike path.
Patterson said there are many issues to be considered, including the spacing of light posts, the style of the lighting and maintenance costs.
Hamer said lighting the bike path would have multiple benefits.
She said research shows that lighting promotes a more safe environment by deterring offenders who fear they may be recognized or interrupted, making police more visible and increasing the number of people who use a path, which boosts surveillance by citizens.
Hamer said donations could help fund the lighting.
On Tuesday night, Grubbs' friends also asked that a bench and memorial be placed along the bike path. City officials urged the friends to work with the Ashland Parks Department on that idea.
"I think it would be fitting and probably could happen," Patterson said.
Grubbs, an avid musician who worked at Shop'n Kart, was the son of Ashland nurse Cherie Grubbs and Michael Grubbs of the city's Community Development Department.
Staff writer Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or firstname.lastname@example.org.