Mpls. Committee Unanimously Rejects $600K Streetlights

Updated: 01/30/2013 7:44 AM By: Jay Kolls

Minneapolis wanted to put up 66 decorative streetlights on an eight-block stretch of Penn Avenue South between 54th and Highway 62.

But pressure from property taxpayers along that part of Penn Avenue, who would have paid anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 in assessments for the "fancy" lights, caused a City Council committee to unanimously reject the proposed plan.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS first reported about the city's plans for Penn Ave. South several months ago. Since then, property taxpayers rallied and signed a petition against the decorative streetlights and presented it to city leaders.

The Transportation and Public Works Committee also passed a resolution asking staff to review the city's entire decorative streetlight policy.

Currently, when a street like Penn Avenue is reconstructed, the city's lighting policy automatically kicks in and decorative streetlights become part of the proposed project. The lighting proposal can be voted down, if 70 percent of the affected property owners vote against it. But, property taxpayers along Penn Ave. South told city leaders the voting is not handled well, because people who do not respond are treated as "yes" votes. That part of the lighting policy will be revisited.

The full city council will vote on the decorative lighting for Penn Avenue South and is expected to follow the committee's recommendation to reject the plan for this particular project.