Michigan has some of the most beautiful skies in the country. Especially during the winter, our night skies can be visible for MUCH longer than many other states in the country, and it provides opportunities to see some amazing things with our naked eyes.

But when you live around major cities and towns, like Kalamazoo, it can be difficult to see much more than a full moon, and a few standout stars during the night in town. The City of Kalamazoo hopes to fix this with their new lights in downtown.

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A new lighting project, led by James Baker, who is the Public Services Director, and Scott Markham, an electrician, set out to not only save Kalamazoo some money with its lighting bills, but also reduce the amount of light pollution caused by certain lights in town.

Last week, residents may have noticed crews working on the lights through the Kalamazoo Mall, and despite any rumors, no, the lights weren't going bad. They were being replaced with new "Dark-Sky Approved" bulbs. They're new LED lights that emit a blue-ish color. They also don't emit a direct light beam that can cause haze and glare.

That's what makes them "Dark-Sky Approved."

The Downtown Development Authority and the Downtown Economic Growth Authority boards helped complete the project, but it doesn't stop there. From now on, all new city lighting projects will be required to install the same lighting fixtures.

This will not only reduce the light pollution, but energy experts say it will highly reduce the amount of energy needed to light up the city. So we get lower costs, AND clearer skies.

It's a rare win-win scenario for Kalamazoo.

At this time, there are no plans to actively replace ALL of the lights around town, but as bulbs wear out and need changed, they will likely be replaced with these lights, or lights similar to them.

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