More than 2,700 low-wattage LED light bulbs have been distributed in the Boulder Hill area through a partnership between Oswego Township, the Kendall County Board, Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield), the Oswego Walmart, and the Kendall County Sheriff’s Office.
The program was announced in late February in the wake of a series of gun and gang related incidents in the unincorporated subdivision that resulted in one murder and two arrests.
“People are getting the message,” Township Highway Commissioner Bob Rogerson said. He encouraged residents who picked up light bulbs to leave them on all night, to “shed light” on the community, and to help deter nighttime crimes.
“It can only help,” he said.
Rogerson noted that when Boulder Hill homes were first constructed they each had their own natural gas-powered outdoor lights. The lights served to brighten the subdivision which has significantly fewer streetlights than neighboring municipalities. But over the years many of the gas-powered lights were taken down due to a lack of maintenance or because the gas lines ruptured or were shut off.
“It’s a shame that those went away,” he said.
The goal of the free light bulb program, Rogerson said, is to get the electric lights already in place in Boulder Hill switched to LED lights, due to the efficiency of the style and brighter capacity of the bulbs.
The road district has also looked at replacing the original solar-powered street lights in the community with powered lights, but due to cost and feasibility, decided to replace them with solar lighting.
However, Rogerson pointed out some problems with solar lights including: the cost to replace the lights every 5-7 years can run between $500 and $700, the risk of vandalism to the lights, and the potential increased cost for tree maintenance - due to the number of tall, older trees in the Boulder Hill area.
The bulbs have been made available to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis at the Boulder Hill Neighborhood Watch meetings at Neighborhood Church of the Brethren, the township office at 84 Templeton Drive in Oswego, and the road district office at 1150 Rt. 25. Residents may receive up to three light bulbs per household for no cost.
The township and sheriff’s office hosted another lightbulb giveaway on Saturday, at the Boulder Hill Market, where Rogerson said that about 425 more lightbulbs were given away.
“There were lines of people,” he said. “It was a great turnout. Residents were appreciative - they really understand the purpose of this.”
Though the light bulbs are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, Rogerson said that the program could be revisited based on public interest.