HANNIBAL | The 2500 block of Broadway in Hannibal, which has become a hub of drug activity and violent crime in recent months, could be looking far brighter at night in the not-to-distant future. The Hannibal Police Department recently asked the Hannibal Board of Public Works to seriously consider adding additional lights in that area.
HPD Chief Lyndell Davis termed the request a “quality-of-life issue for the safety of the people who live down there.”
Additional lighting will be a deterrent to those intent on conducting criminal activity, according to HPD Lt. Jennifer Grote.
“A lot of foot traffic comes up from Hope, Chestnut, Spruce and Gordon in the Broadway direction,” she said. “Illuminating a lot of that would be fantastic for us. It is very easy to run and hide in the shadows down there because it is so dimly lit.”
Grote said that additional lighting would not only protect residents who live in that area, but HPD officers who are responding to emergency calls in that neighborhood.
“The people we are often dealing with down there are armed and violent criminals,” she said. “It is the clientele we are dealing with in that area that makes it a safety issue for us.”
Jared Stewart, electric line supervisor for the HBPW, was open to the request for additional lighting in that area.
“If you guys (HPD) have issues in places where you don't even feel safe, if lighting would help, just let me know and I can try to install some more lighting,” Stewart said.
If additional lights are installed in the 2500 block of Broadway they will be nothing fancy.
“They will be just the regular dusk-to-dawn lights,” Stewart said. “I really don't want to put high-dollar lights in those areas because they will be shot.”
According to Stewart, one block of Broadway will not be the only area receiving attention in the form of new streetlights. Broadway extension, from Grand Avenue to St. Mary's Avenue, and St. Mary's Avenue on to Pleasant Street is a busy corridor that will eventually be re-lit.
Before the Broadway extension/St. Mary's Avenue area get new streetlights some other projects will be tackled first. Next up will be Stardust Drive, from Veterans Road to U.S. 61. Also on the project list is Market Street, from U.S. 61 to Grand Avenue, and Grand Avenue up to Pleasant Street.
Stewart promised that eventually all of Warren Barrett Drive will be illuminated.
“We really would like to do Warren Barrett, but we are in a project that is going to help us at a later date get Warren Barrett done,” he said.
While much of the $150,000 that the HBPW budgets annually for new streetlights is spent to upgrade the lighting along major thoroughfares and arteries, Stewart recently told the traffic committee that he has been asked by Councilwoman Melissa Cogdal to explore putting new lights up in the neighborhood south of Broadway. Adding lighting along Chestnut, Hope and Spruce Streets would present some challenges.
“The issue with that area is it is all being fed (electricity) from an alley,” he said. “A small project like that would eat up $50,000 to $65,000 really, really quick. A couple of blocks and that is all you are going to get.”
Stewart stressed that the streetlight projects the HBPW undertakes have to make fiscal sense.
“I am going to try to get as much bang for my buck for the citizens of Hannibal as I possibly can, so I am focusing on these major arteries,” he said.