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Town vows streetlight repairs in Elmont following months of darkness

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After three months of living in near-total darkness at night, Elmont residents on Bauer Court will finally have their streetlights repaired by the end of the week, town officials vowed to the Herald.

They said the three streetlights on Bauer Court went out in December due to a broken underground electrical cable, which was surrounded by power lines from other utilities in Joe Thomas’s backyard, making repairs more difficult. Crews would have to open and close the street to fix the cable, according to Town of Hempstead spokesman Greg Blower, and a “combination of extreme winter weather and pandemic-related staffing shortages” have resulted in delays.

As a result, Dr. Elsy Mecklembourg said it has been “completely black around here,” and as a widow, she has been afraid. She said the dead-end street  — which her neighbor, Anderson Sturge, called “lovers lane” —  is a popular hang-out spot for local teenagers, and since the lights went out in December, “It’s like this is an advantage for them to do whatever.”

The area is filled with broken bottles and cups, she explained, and more and more people have been coming to the court in their cars over the past few months. “We don’t want to deal with any stranger hiding anywhere,” Mecklembourg said, with Sturge adding that his car had been broken into twice prior to the lights going out.

“We don’t want to deal with any strangers hiding anywhere,” Mecklembourg said. “It’s pretty dangerous.”

They would not be able to see any crime that is committed in the area, where young children play on the streets, she explained, which is why Thomas said he has installed a light over his door that turns on between 6:30 and 7 p.m. every night and turns off at dawn.

“We are trying to upkeep the neighborhood,” Sturge said, noting that he had tried to contact Town Councilman Thomas Muscarella about the issue, but for months, nothing had been done.

The town, however, had contracted an outside electrical firm to expedite the repairs, according to Blower, and finally, on March 12, town officials had restored the lights across from Mecklembourg’s and Thomas’ houses. The remaining repairs were scheduled to be completed by the end of Tuesday with town officials expected to be back on the scene on Monday, when the Herald went to press.

“Now we can see where we’re going,” Mecklembourg said, adding that she hopes “they stay on before we get another blackout.”