Four street lamps installed, plans call for more

Published 7:38 pm Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Mary Weeden has lived on McDonald Avenue for 30 years, and for the first time Tuesday night she could see her surroundings as she walked down her driveway.

A new streetlight that was put up Monday near her home.

“It really was a surprise. I wasn’t home, and my son happened to come by Monday afternoon. I had gone to a friend’s house. He got ready to leave, and he called me,” she said. “He said, ‘Mama, you’ve got a light. Y’all got a light. It looks like a different neighborhood.’”

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Weeden said she got home a short time after that, and her son was right.

“It’s beautiful,” she said. “It’s lighting up my yard and my next-door neighbor’s yard.”

The streetlight didn’t just appear there though. Weeden requested it after she met Jannie Thomas, Ward 7’s council member.

“I just happened to see her one day. She was standing out there across the street in front of my driveway. I just walked out there and asked if she was the new councilwoman, and she said, ‘Yes, I am,’” Weeden said. “We introduced ourselves to each other, and we got to talking. We walked up and down this block.”

Thomas said she got to work right away on Weeden’s request for a light.

“She told me she needed more light, and I put the work order in for her,” Thomas said.

Weeden, who said she has had trouble in the past, feels safer now.

“I feel safe to walk out my side door. It means the world to me really because I’ve been here 30 years now, and I never had a light in front of my driveway,” she said.

“I walked out last night and just walked down my driveway looking around 7:30 p.m. I did it in the past, but I was kind of shaky because I couldn’t see all around me.”

Thomas said the light is hopefully the first of many.

“They want to feel safe, and we’re trying to bring back the safeness in the community,” Thomas said.

The streetlight on McDonald Avenue is just one of four new lights that were put up. Lights were also put up at 1605 and 1620 L.L. Anderson Avenue and 607 King Lane.

“This is just the first phase of a larger plan that includes the entire city,” Mayor Darrio Melton said in a press release. “I’m excited to be able to move forward on this commitment within my first 100 days of office.”

According to the release, the four new lights will cost the $50 apiece annually.