ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP) - The city of Rockford is getting a little darker under a plan to save $500,000 by removing 2,400 streetlights.
The Rockford Register Star reported for Friday's editions that city officials and ComEd crews have already removed more than a third of the targeted streetlights.
The northern Illinois city will remove 1,400 lights from major streets and 1,000 from neighborhoods. Before lights started being removed, the city's streetlight bill was about $2.7 million a year.
Marcy Leach, Rockford's engineering operations manager, said officials spent hundreds of hours determining which lights to remove to make sure adequate light remains, and she said police were consulted to make sure safety was maintained.
Leach acknowledged that while not everyone is happy about the plan, the response has been more positive than officials were bracing for.
"We were expecting complaints, and we were expecting pushback. So we were prepared for that. In the end, it seems to be working out better than expected," Leach said. "For as many complaints as we've gotten, we've gotten just as many compliments on removing them or suggestions to remove more."
But Alderman Linda McNeely said residents in her ward want the lights to stay.
"What residents are telling me is that it's a matter of not being able to see anything anymore when they come home at night because it's so dark," McNeely said. "If it's making our residents feel uncomfortable, why are we doing it?"
ComEd hopes to remove 300 lights per month.