To keep the lights on in the city of Youngstown takes money; specifically, residents’ tax dollars.
But residents across the city have told First News their neighborhoods are dark because too many street lights are not working properly.
WKBN’s Damon Maloney canvassed the city and discovered numerous problems that have residents concerned for their safety and others.
Patricia Coney cares about her North Side neighborhood. She grew up on Norwood Avenue and returned to her childhood home in the mid 1990s and permanently in 2009.
Roughly two decades ago, she felt her street was dark and did something to change it. She went through the steps and eventually had a light put up across the street from her house.
“It was dark over here. It was dark, and I was coming home late at night sometimes,” Coney said.
Coney was worried about her safety and wanted to be able to see her surroundings. Today, the light that was installed across the street from her house is still there, and Coney said it is working properly.
But, that is not true of all the lights in her neighborhood.
“Like when I come down Norwood and Wirt, that street light is very dim,” Coney said. “I thought it was out.”
Maloney drove to that intersection and found the malfunctioning light. Initially the light was dark, but after a few minutes it flicked on, then off and eventually back on. But a few minutes later it was back off.
On Crandall Avenue, also on the North Side, Charise Wright showed us a malfunctioning street light.
“It’s been on all day. It hasn’t gone off and sometimes it doesn’t come on in the evening,” Wright said.
And on the South Side, James London of the Idora Neighborhood is trying to get the issue resolved as well.
“We went up and down every street at night and every pole that has a light on it that wasn’t working as is this one, we would put two ribbons on. Every pole that had a light that was very dim, almost orange or looked like it was burning out, we put one ribbon on,” London said.
He has marked about 20, including a light that does not come on at the corner of Winona Drive and Volney Road. He worries about drivers and his neighbors and their security.
“I think a well lit area deters crime,” London said.
In downtown Youngstown on West Commerce Street, there were at least five lights out on the block.
The entrance ramp to the Madison Avenue Expressway near St. Elizabeth Health Center and the Himrod Avenue Express Way each had at least a half-dozen lights not casting a bright glow on the road below.
“It kind of reinforces the perception, ‘oh the street lights are pitch black and you can’t see what’s going on.’ People don’t feel safe,” said Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. deputy director Ian Beniston.
To see the full story from WKBN, click here.