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The Villages
Thursday, June 30, 2022

‘Out of control teenagers’ vandalizing light poles in Wildwood

Residents say a stronger police presence has improved conditions on Wildwood’s west side, but a lingering problem is vandalism to decorative light poles.

City Administrator Jason McHugh told commissioners Monday night that the city has repaired six damaged globes at a cost of $1,200 over the past six months. Repairing and replacing the existing fixtures would cost $3,650 not including labor.

Vandals have discovered that shaking the poles apparently loosens the bulbs causing the lights to go out.

This decorative light pole was vandalized in Wildwood.

Duke Energy recently replaced Wildwood street lights with LED bulbs and could help solve the west side vandalism problem, McHugh said.

Besides repairing and replacing the existing fixtures, the city could replace the existing poles with Duke Energy decorative poles for $20,000 plus a monthly maintenance fee of $240 for eight poles. Existing poles also could be replaced with Duke Energy cobra-style lights for $4,500 plus a monthly maintenance fee of $77 for seven lights.

A special police unit was assigned to the area about three weeks ago and residents say the action has helped reduce problems with street racing and other issues. The area near Jackson Street also has been the scene of wild block parties in the past that attracted hundreds of people.

Mayor Ed Wolf said repairing the lights won’t solve the vandalism caused by “out of control teenagers,” adding that the commission soon is expected to consider adopting a curfew ordinance.

“We’re going to have to address some of these issues,” Wolf said.

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