PATERSON, NJ - Whether it’s aggressively encouraging residents to enroll in college, bringing local families together for “movies under the stars”, offering recognition to those that have turned their lives around to inspire others, or any number of other pet projects taken on by the nine members of Paterson’s City Council, there is certainly no lack of effort to make the city stronger.

For Councilwoman-at-Large Dr. Lilisa Mimms those efforts, over the last several months, have focused on “turning the lights back on.” Telling TAPinto Paterson as they traveled together to the West Broadway Bridge, where county crews were replacing a long burned out street light, that the initiative has already led to the repair of 18 street lights on Van Houten and North Main Street, the flashing light at the intersection of East 39th Street and 11th Ave, as well as the Arch Street Bridge and the West Broadway Bridge, she continued that it’s both a matter of safety as well as an effort “set new expectations.”

“Having the lights out has become a norm,” Mimms said, something she suggested to be unacceptable. “Residents pay for these lights, they should be turned on.”

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As the wind swept across the bridge on Monday so did a handful of residents, several of whom stopped to greet Mimms and the workers, and to admire their work. “This is a great thing,” said Dennis. Going only by his first name the longtime Paterson resident said that he has often reported the lights to be out and was glad to see something finally being done about.

“Anything can happen in the dark,” said another woman whose young son offered he was glad to see the lights coming on because it would help him see the snakes that are known to sometime slither out of the water.” Disclosure: though assured work crews that any snakes were small and harmless this reporter quickly made his way back to higher ground!

Among the workers on Monday from the Passaic County Building and Grounds, as well as the Roads Department, were two Paterson residents who while asking to remain nameless added their enthusiasm for the project.

“Often times when a politician says they are going to do something it’s just talk,” the one man said, “it’s awesome to see a plan being put in motion,” he continued before saying that he doesn’t remember the Arch Street Bridge, which even at night with the newly installed LED lights should be “as bright as day”, being lit up.

Asked finally about how she managed to get everyone, including the county, the city’s DPW department, and PSE&G to work together Mimms said simply “relationships matter.”

An enthusiastic Mimms concluded by saying that she hopes to expand this initiative citywide and encourages anyone who wants to participate to call her at 201-280-5017 to report any lights out.