Lighting plan leaves some Detroit families in the dark

(WXYZ) - There’s light, but not everyone is happy about it.

“When they saw that light gone, they got me that night,’” says Reginald Mitchell.

Mitchell lives on Mapleridge Drive, part of the city’s new test area for lighting. He tells 7 Action News his house was the only one on his block and it had a light in front of it. Then as part of the new lighting plan workers came and removed the old 75 watt sodium light, moved it to the middle of the street and replaced it with a 150 watt LED. That left him in the dark and his house was robbed.

“They took copper, my furnace, my hot water heater. They got me real good,” said Mitchell.

The city’s new lighting plan includes 42,000 new LEDs in Detroit neighborhoods by the end of 2015. Each block is getting a light at each end and one in the middle. Old operating lights are being removed for the three light plan.

“I don’t feel safe,” says Jeanne Cruz.

Cruz attended Tuesday night's public lighting meeting on the city’s east side attended by about 70 of the 10,000 residents in the lighting test site.

Mayor Mike Duggan faced concerns from Cruz and residents about the removal of lights, the installation of lights, lights shining on abandoned homes and the spread of the beam from street lights.

“The ones that were there worked and our block was lit. Then they were moved and now we are in the dark.”

The city reports they are adding 500 to 600 new lights a week. Duggan says lighting the city isn’t as easy as flipping a switch.

“To a great majority of Detroiters, it’s an improvement, for some...it's a step down,” said Duggan. 

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