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St. Pete Beach plans more library lighting

A woman tells commissioners her safety concerns. Three weeks later, she trips and falls on the darkened pathway.

By JANEL STEPHENS
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 5, 2003


ST. PETE BEACH -- The yellow glow of two street lights illuminates the parking lot behind St. Pete Beach public library. The doorway itself has a small light.

Ruth Ledner didn't think that was enough. She feared someone would fall in the dim light and get hurt.

She was concerned enough to bring it up at the City Commission meeting in December. She noted "the poor lighting at the entrance to the library and commented that it also needed to be cleaned up," according to the minutes taken during the meeting. Three weeks later, Ledner, who is 75, tripped and fell on the darkened pathway.

She was on her way from the depository box when she fell over a 2-inch block along the wheelchair ramp. The fall bruised her leg.

"Lights are very simple," said the Pass-a-Grille resident. "It's the simplest thing to ask for that's very important."

When the bruise worsened, Ledner visited a wound specialist. She goes to the doctor regularly to have her dressings changed. Her injury has made it difficult to care for her ailing husband, Herbert. Ledner frequents the library at least four times a week.

The city plans to improve the lighting today. "We're going to illuminate the front from both approaches," said public works director Scott Graubard, pointing out that with the new lighting, the wheelchair ramp also will be lit. The lights will be installed today by the end of business, Graubard said.

Officials said they misunderstood Ledner's initial request for additional light. They thought that she was saying the light at the doorway was not working. City workers went out to the check light and found it working and thought they had fixed the problem. Only after Ledner's fall did they realize she had asked for more lighting at the doorway.

"It's unfortunate that it happened," said city manager Mike Bonfield, adding that the city was working quickly to remedy the situation.

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