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Minnesota

Minneapolis aims to shore up street lighting to boost public safety

As the times get darker earlier and winter approaches, Minneapolis leaders are hoping to brighten up town’s streets.

Mayor Jacob Frey’s price range proposal for 2023 and 2024 earmarks $9 million for street lighting enhancements to promote public safety. The cash can be used to repair a backlog of repairs, improve present lights and add new lampposts.

“The purpose is to make people feel safe, but also to deter criminals,” Frey mentioned in an interview on Friday. “Criminals fear a well-lit street.”

If Frey’s proposal is authorized by City Council, $9 million would go towards changing and repairing lighting programs within the Stevens Square, Loring Park, Como and Marcy-Holmes neighborhoods, the place officers say outdated and broken wiring is widespread failures.

Additionally, town may draw from a $1.45 million pot for upkeep and repairs, and a $2.5 million mission fund may assist fund new gentle towers.

Councilor LaTrisha Vetaw, representing the North Side, has championed the initiative, which she dubbed “Get Lit Minneapolis.” In an interview on Friday, Vetaw mentioned one of many first issues she heard from voters after taking workplace earlier this 12 months was complaints about lights. She estimates that her workplace takes 5 to 10 calls about damaged lights each week.

“When you’re all alone in a dark part of town, it can feel really scary,” she mentioned. “It feels like a small thing, but it’s a really big deal.”

The mayor’s price range proposal mentioned funding would require “a discussion of the grading policy for this work.” The metropolis is presently evaluating property house owners for street lighting, however Frey’s price range web site states: “Lowering the rate to something similar to street lighting projects (25%) is an option being considered.”

“These are the basics that people in our city should expect,” Frey mentioned.

Earlier this 12 months, town spent $1.2 million from the Federal American Rescue Plan to start addressing a restore backlog that had constructed up throughout the pandemic.

With these repairs, town is aiming to use extra LED lights, which Frey says are increased high quality and extra sustainable. Vetaw mentioned an LED pilot program in her group has obtained a variety of optimistic suggestions from constituents.

Vetaw encourages residents to report outages to the 311 or their council members. She added that her workplace can also be in talks with Xcel Energy, which is answerable for town’s 28,000 wood pole lights. The metropolis manages the roughly 20,000 metallic.

Public hearings on Frey’s proposed price range can be held at City Hall on Tuesday night and December sixth. The council will approve a ultimate price range by mid-December.

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