Indy neighborhoods react to mayor’s first streetlight locations

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Many Indianapolis streets won’t be in the dark much longer.

Mayor Joe Hogsett’s “Operation Night Light” is moving forward with 25 new streetlight locations.

“I think it’s good, overdue, needed,” said former neighborhood association president Shelly Covington. “It’s been a few years since they’ve taken time to invest streetlights in the community.”

In fact, it’s been 30 years.

Hogsett ended a moratorium on new city streetlights that had been in place for decades, something he promised while campaigning for mayor.

Kenny Moore lives in Covington’s neighborhood in the 2800 block of West Vermont Street. A streetlight is being installed right in front of his house. He’s thrilled to see a campaign promise becoming a reality.

I’m so excited and the people in the neighborhood are excited about the light going in so fast,” said Moore. “A lot of times people talk about what they’re going to do and nothing ever happens, so I’m glad to see this happening real soon.”

Moore says he can think of few better places to install one of the new streetlights.

“They’re putting it in the right place," said Moore. “We burn a lot of extra light in our houses just to try to light up the neighborhood."

While Covington is also excited to see the mayor’s plan come to fruition, she says she doesn’t want people to think the lights will solve the many problems facing some neighborhoods like hers.

“Streetlights are a start,” said Covington. “But you also have to look at like, the abandoned vacant housing, employment and other factors that come into play when addressing criminal activity or intent.”

Over the years, vacant homes have slowly been demolished on Moore’s street.

“This whole block used to be full of houses,” said Covington.

Now the block is missing streetlights and porch lights.

With one coming back, Covington hopes the other will soon follow. She has a vision of what 28th Street will look like if investments on the part of the city and potential homeowners does come after streetlights.

“I would see houses, I would see cars, maybe a pocket park,” said Covington. “I would see children being able to play in the streets or on the sidewalk. And I would see neighbors enjoying each other’s company at day time and at night.”

The city is still working with IPL to choose locations for 75 more streetlights to complete phase one of Operation Night Light.

If you feel like your street is too dark, you can still request one through the Mayor’s Action Center.