LIGHT UP THE CITY BEGAN AS A GRASSROOTS INITIATIVE IN SAGINAW...
In the early fall of 2013, Consumers Energy united with the local government, police force and associations of Saginaw to light up the neighborhood by walking door to door and handing out energy efficient light bulbs. The initiative was well received by Saginaw residents as positive relationships were built and crime decreased.
As citizens of Jackson have voiced their concern for some of the darker parts of the city, Consumers Energy (who has been adding value to the Jackson community since they located their headquarters here in 1886) has teamed up with all kinds of authorities and associations across Jackson to bring Light Up the City (LUTC) to our home. This summer we will step into the community with light bulbs in order to brighten up our porches and bring safety and care to Jackson residents.
MAKING JACKSON A SAFER PLACE, ONE LIGHT BULB AT A TIME...
Safety has been a growing concern amidst some of our neighborhoods. During the community workshops the City hosted in 2014, four different groups (wards 1 and 5, Jackson Young Professionals and the City of Jackson employees) all voiced safety to be one of their top five priorities in Jackson. These concerns have been heard and we believe that LUTC is part of the way that we can further make safety a priority.
While we know that porch lights can only do so much, the City of Jackson is a densely populated community, comparable to that of Lansing, Bay City and Kalamazoo. Therefore, we believe that porch lights have the ability to truly brighten up the neighborhood if we all turn them on together. And since Saginaw has had a 16% decrease in crime since they started their own LUTC initiative five years ago, we can only hope for the same.
Our desire for safety continues to grow with the fact that Jackson has experienced a baby boom of sorts. Children under 5 within the city limits make up 9% of the population, which is higher than that of surrounding townships and the national average. With one in ten Jackson citizens being a child living below the federal poverty threshold, we know that safety and concern is all the more important.
On top of all of this, we hope that brightening up the City will help create a more walkable community. Not only will this make evening walks safer, but walkability has been found to make communities grow economically. Each of our Wards perform a bit differently in regards to walkability with Ward 5 being considered a "walker's paradise." The city as a whole, however, is characterized as "car-dependent"—a bias that the City hopes to fight in their 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan, which will aim to create more space for safe non-vehicular activity. With all of this in mind, we can only hope that light will encourage people to get around town in all kinds of ways and that porch lights might go so far as to even effect the economy of Jackson, the health of our citizens and the health of the planet.
THERE ARE MANY OUTCOMES WE HOPE TO BRING TO JACKSON IN THE LIGHT OF THIS PROJECT. WILL YOU JOIN US?