SAFFORD — The days might be too hot for long walks, but the public can still enjoy part of Safford’s shared use path after sundown thanks to a string of recently installed lights.

The path from the Discovery Park Boulevard/8th Ave. intersection to Graveyard Wash now boasts 14 LED lights, safely illuminating the way for after-dark walkers and cyclists. On a recent evening, several path users were taking advantage of the opportunity for exercise.

“I think it’s a great addition to the trail,” said Safford Public Works Director Lance Henrie. And the community seems to agree; Henrie said there has been a lot of positive feedback on the new lights.

Henrie said the city considered solar lighting for the project but, finding the cost of fixtures prohibitive, went with the LED lights. He said these were low-cost and very energy-efficient. They were also installed with dark skies in mind, spaced 300 feet apart to comply with the dark sky ordinance for subdivisions and hooded to keep their light aimed downward.

“I hope to continue to add more in other parts of town,” Henrie said, adding that installation should start this fall.

The city plans to install 13 or 14 lights along the trail around the Safford Cemetery and from the cemetery to 8th Avenue. Henrie hoped to finish the project in time for winter’s shorter days, allowing the public to safely walk or ride that stretch of the path after dark.

While the $50,000 project is currently funded in the city budget, the city also hopes to save money through a grant. Safford has applied for $16,500 in grant funds from the Tohono O’odham Nation’s annual contribution (a portion of the nation’s gaming revenues contributed toward the public good under Arizona Proposition 202). The city expects to learn next month whether its application was approved.

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