Letter: Speak up if lights are out

From: Christopher Rutan


As we all know, there was a very bad storm system that came through Columbus around the time of the Bartholomew County 4-H Fair. While driving around various parts of Columbus, I noticed that there were miles and miles of streetlights that were either damaged or burned out.

Since then, the Ninth Street Park Neighborhood Watch has been out several times a month going into different parts of the city during the nighttime hours to help the city officials repair the broken or burned out lights not noticed in the daytime.

I have worked with Duke Energy, the city engineer’s office and other electricians to help get all these lights repaired. To date, over 300 lights have been repaired thanks to the cooperation of everyone involved.

However, the reason for my letter is this: Each and every streetlight is paid for by your tax dollar. The electricians only work during the day and literally have no way of knowing if they are malfunctioning once the sun goes down.

I am therefore issuing a challenge to each Columbus and Bartholomew County resident and all cities and counties around. If you see a streetlight malfunctioning, every light needs to be reported. If the light is cycling off and on, staying on all day, or just burned out, this is plainly a public safety issue if during the nighttime hours.

For example, the People Trails are lit by streetlights on Central Avenue and all along Eighth Street. If those lights are not burning, this area is very dark. Duke Energy requests that you mark the light pole with caution tape or a string to help identify the malfunctioning light.

If you have a question about who is responsible for the light in question, you can call the city engineer’s office, and they will give you the correct person to call. I have enjoyed the partnership with Chip Orben and Aimee Morris on trying to correct all the minor problems that could lead to a major problem.

It is my hope that when everyone returns to work in January after Christmas break that all the lights on the Second Street Bridge, Third Street Bridge and all the lights along Jonathan Moore Pike will be repaired. This has been a complicated issue to work on, and I have been assured that the issue will be resolved very quickly.