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WDET 101.

9 FMs Post-Bankruptcy
Citywide Community Broadcasts

LIGHTING

Dec . 10 at Lakeridge Village

Facts about Lighting in Detroit

State legislation, adopted in December 2012, allowed the formation of lighting authorities in
Michigan cities. In February 2013, the Detroit City Council approved the city authoritys
articles of incorporation. A five-member board of Detroit residents oversees the Authoritys
operation.
Odis Jones began as the Authoritys chief executive ocer in July 2013.
Detroit has about 88,000 street lights, and estimates show about half of them do
not function. A citywide eort is underway to replace street lights with LED lights,
which are brighter and more energy ecient. Were prioritizing getting the
neighborhoods lit first, Jones says. Detroit plans for all city neighborhoods to be lit
by the end of 2015.
To date, ______________ new lights have been installed.
Paying for it: In December 2013, Citibank financed some $60 million in
floating-rate bonds for Detroits lighting system. In June, the Public Lighting
Authority sold about $185 million worth of revenue bonds. The bond issue,
according to Reuters news agency, had no problem finding buyers: The bond issue,
which was sold through the Michigan Finance Authority, was 2.5 times
oversubscribed, receiving 25 institutional orders and several dozen more from retail
accounts.
Private citizens and groups outside of the city have undertaken their own lighting
improvement eorts. For example, the Southwest Detroit Business Association,
along with some local businesses, are building a new lighting infrastructure along 2.3
miles of Vernor Highway.

Next Chapter Detroit is a place to


explore and understand the citys
bankruptcy, its impact on people
and neighborhoods and its longterm implications.

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The Public Lighting Authority recently recruited Wayne State University civil
engineering students for entry-level construction inspector positions.

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MEET THE PANELISTS
Odis Jones, Executive Director of Detroits Public Lighting
Authority (PLA)
Jones comes to Detroit with more than 20 years of experience in managing
urban initiatives and is leading the design and implementation of a threeyear plan to rebuild Detroits public lighting system. Before joining the PLA,
Jones a Detroit native was the Economic Development Director for
the City of Cincinnati. Jones also has served as the Director of Urban and
Site Development for the New Jersey Economic Development Authority and
as President of the Columbus, Ohio Urban Growth Corporation.

Victoria Kovari,General Manager, Dept. of Neighborhoods and


executive assistant to the Mayor's Oce, City of Detroit
Kovari manages a team of district managers and deputy managers in
seven Council Districts to eliminate blight and improve the quality of life
in Detroit neighborhoods. Her role interfaces with other city
departments and the Detroit Land Bank Authority to accelerate blight
elimination and improve service delivery to neighborhoods. Prior to her
role with the city, Kovari has been a community organizer in the city of
Detroit for more than 30 years.

Pastor Eddie Williams, Founder of Lakeridge Village


Pastor Williams created Lakeridge Village in 2006 with the vision of
giving new life to the area near Puritan Avenue and Fairfield Street in
Detroit. Over the last three years, Lakeridge has helped more than 450
people secure independent housing and income. Lakeridge Village is
currently working with city and community partners to renovate existing
homes, rebuild others and build new homes in what are now vacant lots.

MODERATOR: Sandra Svoboda, WDET


Sandra Svoboda is WDETs bankruptcy reporter and blogger at
NextChapterDetroit.com as part of the Detroit Journalism Cooperative.
She also reports on air and is part of the Detroit Today show team. She
has covered Detroit for The Associated Press, The (Toledo) Blade, The
Metro Times and other news outlets.
nextchapterdetroit.com

Snapshot: Lighting in Bankruptcy Court

How big is the problem? Judge Rhodes wrote:


A large number of people in this City are suffering hardship because of what we have

antiseptically called service delivery insolvency. What this means is that the City is
unable to provide basic municipal services such as police, fire and EMS services to
protect the health and safety of the people here. Detroits inability to provide
adequate municipal services runs deep and has for years. It is inhumane and
intolerable, and it must be fixed. This plan can fix these problems and the City is
committed to it.

When Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr testified during the bankruptcy trial, he said public
safety was his first focus when he started with the city. His next priorities: public lighting, blight
remediation and trash collection.
City consultant Gaurav Malhotra testified that the city could reap $5 million in the next year from
selling 13.5 million pounds of copper wire -- $25 million over the next six years as the citys public
lighting department is decommissioned. Its the wire that exists both overhead and underground, he
said.

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