The streets of Chelsea are a little too dark as far as some City Councilors are concerned.
At Monday night’s council meeting, District 6 Councilor Giovanni Recupero introduced a motion requesting the City Manager hire a new company to perform streetlight repairs in the city.
The motivation behind Recupero’s motion struck a chord with several other councilors who said they have struggled with efforts to keep the city well lit for years.
“For many years, I’ve been asking that our street lights be taken care of, and they are never really taken care of,” said Recupero. “An average individual is not going to go to a pole and then find a pole number and then call the DPW. Then the DPW is going to tell them we don’t know if it is a problem with the electric company or with us.”
Recupero said he didn’t expect the City Manager to hire a new company to maintain the street lights, but he said he hoped his motion would lead to more attention to be paid to broken street lights in the city.
“If you go on Broadway at certain times, half of it is out; you go down there and you see the lights are out,” said Recupero. “If we have a company to do that, they should do it.”
District 8 Councilor Calvin Brown responded that there are numbers on the light poles, but that if residents can’t find them or don’t want to contact the DPW, they can contact their district or at-large councilors and let them know approximately where there is an issue.
But several other councilors noted that even if they are aware of a problem, they are not always immediately fixed.
“Once I got started (on the council) eight years ago, one of my main things was the lights; there were so many lights out on the streets,” said District 4 Councilor Enio Lopez. “There are still a lot of lights out.”
Lopez said he has been complaining for years about the situation and still hasn’t seen it get much better.
“It’s a huge issue we have here in the city,” said Councilor-at-Large Damali Vidot. “I remember when we started here in the city eight years ago and we literally drove around the city and we would take notes. But at the end of the day, we don’t know if it is the city’s responsibility or the electric company’s responsibility.”
Vidot said she agreed with Recupero that the city should be more proactive when it comes to dealing with broken street lights.
“I remember speaking with former (Police) Chief (Brian) Kyes about this, and he talks about public safety by design,” said Vidot.
She said if there are more lights in the city, people are less likely to take part in nefarious activities.
“It makes more sense for us to make sure our city is lit up like Las Vegas to make sure everyone feels safe and can walk on our streets,” said Vidot.
In addition to the streets, District 2 Councilor Melinda Vega said there are a number of public stairways in the city that are poorly lit and dangerous.
“Negative things happen and unsafe things happen in the dark, we need to make sure we light our city to prevent that from happening,” said Vega.