Leon County allots $25,000 to installing lights at school bus stops

The funds will go toward putting street lights at rural school bus stops
County streetlight proposal advances
Published: May. 1, 2023 at 8:52 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - The Leon County Commission will bring lights to school bus stops in rural and unincorporated parts of the county.

Last week, the commission decided to allocate $25,000 to installing street lights at Leon County Schools bus stops in rural communities. The commission agreed to pull a fifth of its annual funds for street lights to support the installations.

For residents in the Fort Braden community, the improvements are welcome and encouraged.

For nearly three decades, Brett Cleaves has driven his children and grandchildren to their bus stops and waited with them every morning at about 6 a.m. Their stop at the end of Lone Star Road next to Highway 20 has no lights, he said.

“It’s pitch black first thing in the morning,” Cleaves said. “I thought for years they should have lit it up. I worried all those years about my kids being out there.”

Cleaves said he supports the decision to bring lights to rural bus stops.

The Leon County Commission unanimously passed the proposal during a 2024 budget workshop last week. Commissioner Brian Welch moved the motion forward, and Commissioner Christian Caban seconded the idea, Caban said.

“I think it’s just great forward thinking,” Caban said. “I heard along the campaign trail that there were bus stops where kids would just sit in the dark.”

Caban added that new developments in rural and unincorporated communities will now require developer “land code” plans to include street lighting for youth bus stops.

“There’s no reason why we should have kids standing next to Highway 20 on the side of the road in the dark,” Caban said. “Kids won’t care unless they see that we care.”

There are at least five bus stops in the Fort Branden community alone “where kids are waiting in the dark,” the commissioner said.

Cleaves said the proposal not only addresses the safety of children waiting at the bus stops, but the drivers who pass them by.

“We should be thinking of our kids, our kids’ safety and the drivers that are coming through here,” Cleaves said.

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