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Indy works to bring light to dark city streets

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – When the sun sets over Indianapolis, the streetlights flicker on. But some corners of the city remain dark. Now, the city is getting ready to roll out phase two of 'Operation Nightlight,' an initiative to bring more light to those areas.

It used to be only darkness in front of Kenny Moore's home. He lives near W. 28th and Rader St.

"Before that light was there this was spooky," he said. "I mean they was bringing prostitutes, they was doing coming doing their little drugs or whatever. I mean I've even seen them shooting up."

But now there's a new streetlight in that spot. It was part of the first phase of Operation Nightlight in 2016. The initiative ended a 35-year moratorium on new, city funded streetlights with the addition of 100 new streetlights.

"It's a public safety issue at its very core. There are people in neighborhoods in the City of Indianapolis today who simply will not come outside after the sun goes down because the darkened streets make them afraid," Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said. "But it's also an issue of public safety for pedestrians, for people who use walkways or are out on the streets throughout the neighborhoods that don't currently have streetlights or have streetlights that are no longer operable and who's streets are darkened."

Now, the city and IPL are getting ready to retrofit all existing cobra-head streetlight fixtures with LED technology. The city said it will help provide increased safety, a healthier environment and lower maintenance costs. Mayor Hogsett said while the city's light bill is typically in the ballpark of $4.5 million a year, the LED lights will provide $800,000 a year in savings to install to 4,000 new streetlights. The installation is set to begin in the next several weeks and continue as savings are realized over the next several years.

"The truth is most all of the retrofitting and a lot of the new streetlights will be going up in the next three years," the mayor said.

"This patch right here, as I call it, it had, there was no light there, there was no light here," Bernie Price said. "So this was very dark, this was very dark, and with this being a busy road it just wasn't, wasn't a good situation."

Price lives in the Bean Creak neighborhood. She said they resurrected their neighborhood association after a home invasion in the area. They worked to improve their neighborhood, and soon had a new streetlight, too. Where once was darkness, there is now light and the future location of a neighborhood sign.

"There are people that are coming out at night from ball games and that type of thing but now in the summertime you'll even see kids from the neighborhood over here playing in this yard because they're allowed to, they feel a little bit safer," Price said.

Now in front of Kenny Moore's home, there is no one else parked but him.

"It's real peaceful now, you know I really like it since they put this light here," he said.

To request a streetlight in your neighborhood click here.

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