Feb 22, 2013
JACKSONVILLE, Fla.– Those who do business in South Point Plaza say the city has left them in the dark, shutting down multiple streetlights around their parking lots in an effort to save $300,000 in taxpayer funds.
“Is saving money worth the safety of the citizens?” asked Charles Bellinghausen, who works for PSS World Medical at South Point. “I think that right there would sum it up.”
Local real estate experts agree. NAIOP, The Commercial Real Estate Development Association of Northeast Florida, says shutting off more than 2,000 lights throughout Jacksonville was far from a bright idea when it comes to growing the city’s economy.
‘With a company looking at Jacksonville and other cities if they’re looking at Jacksonville and they notice our streetlights are out what does that say about our city?” said Traci Jenks, chapter president of NAIOP.
She says turning off thousands of streetlights sends a message to companies that Jacksonville doesn’t care about public safety, preventing much needed jobs from coming to our area.
The organization wrote a letter to Mayor Alvin Brown, hoping he’ll see the light.
“It basically asked him to turn the streetlights back on,” said Jenks.
The organization says they understand the need to save, but not when the long-run cost is this high.
“This is one of these things that it’s being penny-wise and pound foolish. I mean you really need to turn these streetlights on or you’re going to lose a lot more money in tax revenue from businesses that leave,” said Jenks.
Action News reached out to representatives for the mayor and got no response. NAIOP says it is expecting to hear back from the mayor on Friday.
CLICK HERE for letter that was sent to Mayor Brown’s office regarding NAIOP’s position on this issue.