One month ago on December 8th, Detroit representatives held a ceremony to illuminate the city with 65,000 newly-installed streetlights.

As a result of the Michigan city filing for bankruptcy in July 2013, most of Detroit’s 88,000 streetlights were broken. Many of the fixtures were vandalized by residents hunting for copper wire to sell. In 2014, an exit strategy for the city’s financial crisis was approved by Judge Steven W. Rhoades.

After four years of hard work and collaboration with Governor Rick Snyder’s office and the Obama administration, Detroit now has street lighting that meets the national standard.

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The Detroit Public Lighting Authority was proud to finish the $185 million project ahead of schedule and under budget. The lights have been upgraded to LED fixtures, which reportedly makes Detroit the largest city in the USA with 100% LED public lighting. The copper wiring was also replaced with aluminum to prevent vandalism.

“When I walk the streets here, there’s a sense of hope and a sense of progress that is tangible,” Shaun Donovan, President Barack Obama’s budget director, told the Detroit Free Press. “There are lots of measures you can look at, one of the most important would be to see that the city starts to grow, and I think we’re very, very close to that.”

Though it’s only a small step in the right direction, the brightness that now floods the streets is a powerful physical manifestation of the city’s hopeful future.

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