Back in November, when budget discussion reached the panic stage in Summit Hill because of a shortage of funds, there was some dialogue held about possibly eliminating some street lights.
There were several suggestions aired including removing some from White Bear Drive, taking some away from the Ginder Field, and even having fewer lights on some of the blocks in the community.
The borough pays a per-light fee to PPL Electric for street lights.
At the time, it was agreed to have a study done on the street lights and possibly have some removed.
It's now March and so far there's been no word on whether or not such a study was completed.
Street lights are important in every community including White Bear. Although homes are far apart in White Bear and you don't find much pedestrian traffic, the lights aid motorists and likely are appreciated by the people who live along the highway. In fact, most of the residents along White Bear Drive pay more in property taxes than most residents in Summit Hill proper because of the value of the homes.
On the Ginder Field, the lights probably prevent some vandalism. The cost of the vandalism that would occur if there were no lights or fewer lights would possibly surpass the cost for the additional lighting.
In the borough, the council owes it to the residents to assure there is enough street lighting. It's too late to come back after a burglary or rape occurs in a dimly lit area to decide that the existing lights never should have been removed.
Was a study on the lighting ever done?
If so, the results haven't been released yet.
If not, there could still be a study done, but the removal of any lights should only occur with great caution.
It's true that the borough is paying a lot of money to PPL for the street lights. It's also true that there appears to be no option; that the lights are needed and should not be removed.
By Ron Gower