Two new commercial-grade solar panel LED streetlamps illuminate a pathway from Hamman Drive to Athens High School. The lights were installed to improve safety for students walking along the path during early morning and nighttime hours.

Two new commercial-grade solar panel LED streetlamps illuminate a pathway from Hamman Drive to Athens High School. The lights were installed to improve safety for students walking along the path during early morning and nighttime hours.

Photo by Jonathan Shead


Solar lights added to Athens High pathway to promote safety

By: Jonathan Shead | Troy Times | Published February 27, 2021

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TROY — After two years of advocating for the city to install lights along a pathway that connects Athens High School to Hamman Drive, a concerned resident and Athens parent, Jessica Shamoon, can finally rest easy.

Earlier this year, two new commercial-grade solar-powered LED streetlamps were installed along the pathway to help improve the safety of the pathway for students walking along it while it’s dark.

“It took a long time, and it took a lot of perseverance, (but) I’m very happy,” Shamoon said. “It makes me feel better that anyone, especially the children, walking back there will have light.”

The two-year-long project began in the winter of 2018, Shamoon explained, after she saw an unidentifiable suspicious man standing in the snow on the unlit pathway, smoking.

“I thought it was odd. He wasn’t making sure his kid went to school. He was not walking a dog. Why was he there?” she questioned, calling the police that morning at 6:45 a.m. to report it. “My mom instinct blew up. I knew that something must be done to light the path in the dark months.”

Following the 911 call, Shamoon spent the next couple of weeks trying to determine who owned the path. Learning that it belonged to the city, Shamoon connected with Troy Department of Public Works Director Kurt Bovensiep to request lighting be installed.

Shamoon researched and found clip-on lights, which Bovensiep purchased immediately. That set lasted until the next school year, Shamoon said. Soon after, the pair added more lights, placing approximately 10 lights along the pathway, but the lights didn’t remain there long.

In October 2019, someone took a baseball bat to all of the lights, rendering them unusable. “I was feeling very insecure about dropping my daughter there and letting her walk, so I began to drive her directly to Athens,” Shamoon said.

After the lights were vandalized, Bovensiep said he realized the city would need to invest in lights higher off the ground. Shamoon said the suspicious man was seen on the unlit pathway after the initial 911 call, but she wasn’t sure what happened to the man after that.

Bovensiep was glad Shamoon decided to reach out and create an urgency around the situation.

“The city, we like to be proactive in making sure that our residents feel comfortable, but I’m glad that she felt comfortable enough to reach out to us and make this suggestion and really bring the concern to light, no pun intended,” he laughed. “I think the new lights definitely offer a sense of security and provide students a safe path to get to the high school. In general, the community is really going to benefit from increased safety.”

While the effects of the lighting may not be fully illuminated yet, Shamoon agrees that students and anyone who uses the path will be safer on it. That’s why she started the whole project, she said.

“I did all of this to protect our children. I couldn’t imagine having my child or her friends taken or trafficked,” she said. “If I could, I would dedicate these two new unbreakable solar lights to the memory of Danielle Stislicki, because her story began on my daughter’s 12th birthday and has been stuck in my head since.”

Danielle Stislicki was a 28-year-old Farmington Hills woman who was last seen leaving her job at the Southfield MetLife office Dec. 2, 2016. Former MetLife security guard Floyd Galloway Jr. was arrested on first-degree murder charges two years later in connection with Stislicki’s disappearance. In June 2020, Galloway’s case was delayed for the third time.

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