Residents still waiting for promised streetlights

SAN BENITO — Residents who were promised streetlights are still waiting in the dark, quite literally, every morning.

Parents said they have to take precautions when walking their children to the bus because it’s so dark.

Rancho Grande Estates resident Alex Perez, 24, was caring for his sons when he said the streets are dangerous even in the mornings when students walk to the bus stop to catch a ride to school.

“It would be a lot better and a lot safer with streetlights,” Perez said. “It’s pretty dark.”

Perez said the colonia is not very threatening even though most homes are gated and locked with a chain.

“Every place has their problems once in a while,” Perez said. “But it will be a lot better to have streetlights out here.”

Perez, 24, said he has been living in the neighborhood for two-and-a-half years.

Some homes have their own private light posts that help illuminate patches of the neighborhood.

American Electric Power surveyed the subdivision and its engineers recommended 260 streetlights, requiring 197 new poles be placed.

The infrastructure cost is estimated at $215,923.

The annual electricity cost is estimated to be $46,211.

And the annual fee for each lot in the colonia would be $62.46.

The project is part of the Cameron County Streetlight program for unincorporated areas.

“My understanding is the monies were already tendered to AEP, so it’s just a matter of AEP scheduling the work to be done,” said Gus Ruiz, Cameron County commissioner for Precinct 4. “I’m trying to get a time frame of when the project will be complete, more or less.”

Ruiz said he is looking forward to this project’s completion.

“The residents have been waiting patiently and they organized and executed to get the streetlights,” Ruiz said. “Now we are just waiting for them to get powered up.”