PAYETTE COUNTY - The old saying ‘Out with the old, in with the new’ is being illustrated this week, as the red beacon atop the Symes Tower is being upgraded with LED technology.

The red light is mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration as a guide to help pilots avoid collisions at night.

As reported previously, the daytime white strobe lights have been operated at night since the red light burned out on March 11. According to Payette County Sheriff’s Lt. Andy Creech, this temporary measure has been relatively well-tolerated by the community.

“Thanks to the messaging that we put out in March, we have not had very many calls about the lights at the Symes Tower,” wrote Creech in an email on May 5. 

Creech said the county has been able to leverage a grant to pay for the LED lights, and their viability has already been demonstrated by the nearby Black Canyon Tower.

“The LED lights require less maintenance and last for a longer time,” said Creech. “This week the new lighting system is being installed. We don’t have a definite cutover date for the new system but expect it to be around Wednesday.”

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