After months of darkness East Knoxville neighbors get street lights repaired

Investigations

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — During the day, Ruby Woods feels perfectly safe walking down Laurans Avenue where she’s lived for more than 30 years.

However, Woods and others in the East Knoxville neighborhood have been without street lights for two months despite complaints to the city and the Knoxville Utilities Board.

A block away on Hazen Street the lights were on at dusk when we visited the neighborhood late last week.

Despite seeing repairmen in the neighborhood the lights never came on. Utility workers started repairing the street lights on Laurans Avenue weeks ago but haven’t finished.

Resident Patrick Hayes said the lights have been off since before Thanksgiving. Hayes is the father of two small children and lives close to his godmother, Woods.

“We’ve called 311,” he said. “We have called the city; we called KUB. They both push it off on each other.”

“The lady told me they had us on the list,” Woods said. “I said, ‘What do you mean we are on the list?’ She said, ‘You are on the list, we haven’t forgotten you.’ I said, ‘But you know it is dark out here.'”

When the sun goes down it doesn’t take long for Laurans Avenue to be shadowed in darkness. The only illumination are porch lights. But they shine just around the perimeter of a house. Woods says without street lights, it’s not safe.

“If you walk down the street right now you can’t see nothing,” she said. “If my neighbors didn’t have their lights on, we’d be in trouble. My neighbor has grandkids. The lady down the street has kids. They can’t come outside.”

“There’s nothing,” Hayes said. “We just want lights. We want the situation rectified.

“Everybody around us has lights. Why don’t we have lights? It’s simple, fix the problem. That’s all we ask is just fix the problem.”

Within days after notifying Knoxville Vice Mayor Gwen McKenzie and 6 On Your Side, the lights on Laurans Avenue and others nearby were repaired.

The city tells 6 On Your Side the delay was due to an electrical part that had been on back order.
The spokesperson says Edison Electric confirms nearly 40 lights in the area are working now.

“I am so thankful for those lights being back,” Woods said. “I can come outside and see something now. I can see now. I can look out my window and see if anyone is walking in my driveway.”

Tonight the street lights on Laurans Avenue are on and many in the neighborhood feel safe again.

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