Apr 27, 2010 3:58 AM by Jeannette Hynes
Colorado Springs City Councilmember Sean Paige received an email a few weeks ago about how bright the Old North End neighborhood looked at night. Every streetlight was on while many other neighborhoods across the city have had their streetlights go dark.
The city is turning off nearly 10,000 of the 24,500 streetlights across the city to save $1.2 million from the general fund.
Paige brought up the issue at Monday afternoon's city council meeting to figure out why the Old North End's lights were still on.
"That's their [the city engineers'] determination," says Pat Doyle of the Old North End neighborhood association. "The neighborhood wasn't involved in that at all."
David Krauth, the city's principle engineer, says the Old North End's lights were on, because that neighborhood is in a special taxing district to install streetlights. Krauth says in many of these kinds of taxing districts, the agreement is for installation, operation, and maintenance. Krauth says his staff has since figured out, the Old North End's agreement did not include operation and maintenance.
The city plans to turn off the appropriate lights in the Old North End neighborhood by the end of the week.
Paige says he objects to the appearance of preferential treatment to affluent neighborhoods.
"In this case, a mistake was made. It is not because wealthy people live in the Old North End," says John Leavitt, Colorado Springs city spokesperson.
"I think they're just getting around to it because a couple of people like myself raised questions," says Paige.
City engineers plan to have the remaining lights across the city turned off within the week, including lights around the Broadmoor Hotel, which was also a source of confusion as to which entity operated and maintained the lights.
City engineers say they're leaving streetlights on near schools, hospitals, crosswalks, parks, traffic signals, and stop signs. They're also leaving on lights in high crime and high traffic areas.
Any private citizen can pay to have their streetlight turned back on through a streetlight adoption program. The cost for one year is between $100 and $240.