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Milwaukee Council members approve more money to fix aging street lights

milwaukee street lights
Posted at 12:28 PM, May 10, 2022

MILWAUKEE — For the past 27 years, Dodi Krentz has been living in a neighborhood near south 5th street and Saveland. She says in the last couple of years, she's noticed a huge problem.

"All of a sudden, there would be no street lights," said Krentz.

The same goes for Julie Tageson who has lived in the area for more than two decades.

"You notice some days or some weeks, we just go without lights around here," said Tageson.

According to the Department of Public Works, they've had to address 1,291 circuit issues within street lights throughout the city so far this year. That's up from the 1,113 circuit issues they had to fix this time last year. It's mainly due to the city's aging street lighting infrastructure.

City officials say some of the wires that are attached to the street lights range anywhere between 70 and 100 years old.

"Something very simple, as basic as a street light, you kind of think that's really something that you should just have," said Krentz.

That's why Krentz, along with her other neighbors, was happy to hear that the city's common council voted unanimously Tuesday morning to adopt a resolution to use $10 million from the second round of American Rescue Plan Act funding to replace aging street lighting circuits across the city.

  • Watch council members talk about the resolution at the top of this article.

"The need for these improvements of these most troublesome circuits is huge," said ​Jerrel Kruschke, the interim commissioner of the city's department of public works.

Council members already approved a first "tranche " or portion of ARPA money, $10 million, for the repairs. This means the city now has $20 million in total to go towards the improvement projects where they estimate to upgrade 79,000 streetlights throughout the city.

Construction on these new lights is expected to be completed with the first round of ARPA funding by 2024. The second round of funding will be used to finish the rest of the upgrades which is expected to be completed by 2026.

Web extra: Milwaukee resident responds to street light repair money

Social interview: Milwaukee residents respond to street light repair money

The legislation has approved by the following: Alderwoman JoCasta Zamarripa, Alderman Ashanti Hamilton, Alderman Robert J. Bauman, Alderwoman Nikiya Dodd, Alderwoman Milele A. Coggs, Alderwoman Chantia Lewis, Alderman Michael J. Murphy, Alderman Mark A. Borkowski, Alderman José G. Pérez, Alderman Scott Spiker, Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic and Alderman Russell W. Stamper, II

If you need to report a street light outage call (414) 286-CITY (2489). You can also submit a report online here or download the app here.

Check out DPW's job postings here.

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