City has more problems with new Riverwalk lights

Visitors notice a difference

Published On: Dec 22 2011 04:20:49 PM CST   Updated On: Jan 11 2012 12:56:01 PM CST

Pesky rodents are chewing through the city's Riverwalk lights display, leaving some visitors disappointed with the views.

According to Paula Stallcup, the city's director of downtown operations, a city contractor is replacing faulty or damaged lights twice a week, in an effort to maintain the popular display.

The city recently finished a $580,000 switch to LED lights on the Riverwalk, and has already had problems with light banks shorting out because of moisture.

"The people that come down here, the tourists, they come for the lights, and since they switched to the LEDs, a lot of them have been disappointed," said Carlos Delgado, a manager at Rio Rio Cantina on the Riverwalk.

Stallcup said the squirrels weren't a problem before the switch to LED lights because the traditional lights dangled from the ends of branches. The LED lights are wrapped around tree trunks, which makes them more accessible to wildlife, Stallcup said.

The city budgeted for replacement lights, but it won't be clear how much it will actually cost to replace the damaged lights until the season is over.