After enjoying a Friday night dinner out, I drove home through the inky dark, mid-October streets of Downtown Utica. The city was rather active with an event at the Aud and the dinner crowd at Ancora! next to the Stanley filtering out into the street.
I was perplexed about one thing-why our decorative, historic "acorn' style street lamps are in such a terrible state of disrepair. It is an embarrasment to the city and dangerous as well. Take a look next time you drive downtown. It's not only maddening but also totally unfair to the dedicated businesses and property owners that remain plugging away in our central business district.
Every other lamp is either out or missing. They don't even have matching bulbs or shades! Some are a pink hue, some bright white and still others a strange blueish-white that seems to give off no light at all.
In the daytime, they are a mixed bag of peeling black paint exposing the old green color underneath and broken bases. In some cases, actually exposing the wiring!
Whats up? The Engineering Department in City Hall, lead by Deputy Commissioner Goran Smilic, is in charge of this mess. Why don't they seem to notice? Why doesn't anyone seem to care? In a city with a 60 million-plus annual budget, you think somebody could figure out how to keep the lights on!
Maybe they have "more important" issues to address. But, really folks, isn't regular maintenance of main street lighting important? If we can't master something so basic, how can we possibly address the bigger problems that plague our infrastructure?
What does this lack of basic housekeeping say about us to the visitors to our city that stay in the downtown hotels? I know what I would think if I visited a city that had lights all over downtown that were either broken or out!
Lets tell city hall to fix our lights NOW!