Odis Jones to lead Detroit's new Public Lighting Authority

Odis Jones to lead Detroit's new Public Lighting Authority

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Odis Jones Odis Jones
DETROIT (WJBK) -

James Taylor lives on Detroit's east side taking care of his elderly parents. He said there hasn't been working streetlights near his home since his arrival a year ago.

It is a huge issue, one of the biggest complaints of Detroiters. Half of the city's 88,000 streetlights don't work, but now the Public Lighting Authority has hired Detroit native Odis Jones to get them turned back on.

"We've got to get the lights on, but two, we've got to modernize our system so that it fits the needs of the residents that are here today, as well as those in the future," Jones said.

Jones will start July 15. He is coming to Detroit from Cincinnati where he was the economic development director.

So what neighborhoods will be given priority? Where are the streetlights most needed? Jones said they are looking to the public for help with all of that, and are asking for everyone to attend a series of meetings.

"We've got a list of public meetings that we're having, so I encourage and invite others to get out to those," Jones said. "We want to hear from the residents and be able to translate that drumbeat we hear from them into a plan that we execute."

It will be a three year plan with annual goals. The price tag could be anywhere from $160 million to $300-500 million.

Kevyn Orr's office announced Thursday that Detroit's Public Lighting Department will cease operations in the coming months and years. DTE Energy will be taking over those customers, including Wayne State University, Detroit Public Schools, Cobo Hall and the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Orr's spokesperson said PLD has been a significant financial burden for Detroit operating at an annual loss of approximately $150 million over the last five years.

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