JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- As night falls on Jacksonville, 2,300 area street lights no longer come on.
"We are through turning off these lights," says Gerri Boyce,spokeswoman for JEA. "We went out there and blocked the photo cell so the light does not come on."
Boyce says its customer -- the city of Jacksonville public works department -- told them where to turn the lights off, and last week the company completed the work. That's when calls started coming in from concerned neighbors like Karen Barnes. Barnes lives along AC Skinner Parkway on the Southside. An area where residential communities are established and new homes are under construction.
"There are several hundred residents in the area," she told Action News, "and there are probably about to be several thousand residents in the area."
Barnes says current residents and employees of nearby businesses used to exercise along the parkway in the evening, but now it's too dark to feel safe.
"I would love to see the lights turned on."
Action News took Barnes' request to the city's Director of Communications David DeCamp.
"At this point they are off for this fiscal year," he said.
DeCamp says the areas chosen are primarily industrial, and not heavily traveled at night.
"In the case of Skinner Parkway, the Public Works director personally went through that area after dark to make sure that we has chosen an adequate place for this decision."
For now, DeCamp says the city is standing by its decision, with the goal of saving $300,000 this year, and $360,000 in subsequent years. No changes, he says, are expected until the mayors next budget proposal in July.
Barnes hopes her concerns will be considered before then, so the lights near her home don't go out for good.
"I did not receive any communication from the city before the decision was made, and I would have liked to be part of that process. I welcome the opportunity to be part of that process in the future."
You can check the map of areas where the lights have been turned off by going to http://jea.com/redtag.
Suggestion or comments can be emailed to the city at firstname.lastname@example.org.