Local nonprofit commits to pay bills for neighborhood streetlights

Scramble for funding after local group dissolves

Local nonprofit commits to pay bills for neighborhood streetlights

COLUMBIA, Mo. - A Boone County nonprofit formally agreed to pay the monthly bills for almost a dozen streetlights for one neighborhood on Tuesday.

Andy Griffith of Community of Faith Outreach signed on to pay for 11 streetlights in the Fairway Meadows neighborhood off of St. Charles Road. 

"It was definitely a spur of the moment kind of thing," Griffith said before officially committing to pay the bills through the Boone Electric Cooperative.

Griffith said he decided to pay the remaining bills after learning of the situation by reading an ABC 17 News article about residents picking up the cost of several lights.

The area's neighborhood association, which was called the Fairway Meadows Improvement and Betterment Association, dissolved in 2010 according to the Missouri Secretary of State's website. A replacement association has not formed since.

Griffith said Community of Faith Outreach agreed to pay for the streetlights for 12 months, but that a new neighborhood association could inherit the contract if one forms. A motivation to pick up the bills, Griffith said, was the safety of children in the area.

"The kids that are in (the Fairway Meadows neighborhood) also have a great spot in my heart, so part of this is for them," Griffith said.

One Boone County commissioner, Janet Thompson -- after learning the streetlight bills were all paid for-- commended Griffith, Boone Electric Cooperative, and the residents who picked up other streetlight bills.

"That says something positive about our community," Thompson told ABC 17 News. She later compared Griffith to a "fairy godfather," and added that his contribution is temporary and a permanent fix is still necessary.

One former officer of the neighborhood association, Jordan Yount, said prior to its dissolution, the association collected montlhy fees for two billboards on I-70 that were located on neighborhood property.

Payments from the billboard companies halted after the association disbanded around 2015 due to lack of interest from residents, Yount said.

The payments, which equaled about $3,000 a year, paid for the streetlights until recently. The association's revenues also included annual dues of $25 from each property owner.

One resident, Kenny Freeman, told ABC 17 News he is interested in forming a new association, but it's not clear when that could happen.

"I hope that the interest in finding a permanent fix continues, that people aren’t satisfied with the fairy godfather approach," Thompson said.

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