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In-Depth: Cleveland's chronic street lighting issues show up during NFL draft

In-Depth: CLE chronic street lighting issues show-up during NFL draft
In-Depth: CLE chronic street lighting issues show-up during NFL draft
Posted at 9:37 PM, Apr 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-01 00:05:26-04

CLEVELAND — Cleveland's chronic street lighting issues appeared as the city is in the midst of being in the national spotlight hosting the 2021 NFL draft.

Cleveland community activists said street lighting outages are part of an ongoing problem being faced by the city after News 5 discovered key street lighting near the NFL draft complex was not operating.

Downtown activist Robert Carillio pointed to streets lights that were dark in front of the Cleveland Convention Center, the Downtown Hilton Hotel, and downtown sections of Euclid Avenue.

Carillio said systemic infrastructure issues must be addressed to help reduce the chronic problem.

"It’s kind of a one-shot deal to be featured nationally and send an impression to the whole country," Carillio said.

He continued, “Areas where we should be lit up and alive are in dead darkness. It's the continuation of these large swaths of lights being out in areas that are prime areas. Right in the city, in the prime of the downtown where it should be lit, of course there’s safety concerns.”

Lincoln Heights Block Club Chairperson Henry Senyak has been reporting street lighting issues for more than a decade and said current problems are not limited to the downtown area.

Senyak said he sent a list of 17 crucial lighting repairs that are needed in the city's Tremont neighborhood to Cleveland Public Power in January, but said he's still waiting a definitive response. Senyak also pointed to chronic street lighting issues along West 25th Street between Clark Avenue and MetroHealth Medical Center.

Cleveland Public Power responded to our story and issued the following statement:

"Cleveland Public Power dispatched three crews to repair all street light outages.

As of 2 a.m. Thursday, April 29th, all lights were on and working. The safety and security of our residents and visitors are paramount and to that end, we will have crews ready to repair any street lights reported out this evening."

However, News 5 took a survey of the reported lights on the morning of April 30, and found a significant number of the street lights were still not in operation.

Cleveland Public Power said it would further explore reported street lighting issues in the Tremont neighborhood, and along West 25ty Street, in the coming weeks.

Cleveland Public Power said to report street lights out during the Draft call its Trouble Line at 216-664-3156.

Meanwhile, Carillio said the city needs to commit more financial resources to address street light infrastructure issues, even though the city spent $25M in 2019, and replaced more than 61,000 lights with new LED fixtures.

Carillio said CPP, ODOT and FirstEnergy need to work together more efficiently in reporting lighting outages across the city.

“There just needs to be better coordination, it shouldn’t be the residents 100% of the time doing what should be their job,” Carillio said. “The city has grandiose plans, it builds all kinds of great and wonderful things, but it doesn’t have the follow-up maintenance and stewardship needed. It’s like being invited to dinner and when everybody walks in to eat, you can’t see where you’re going.”