WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Leaders and patrons of the Community Arts Center in downtown Wilmington are upset at the city's response to a murder in the parking lot next to the facility.
In December, Joshua Proutey, 19, was shot and killed while heading to his car after working an event at the Community Arts Center on Second and Orange Streets.
Workers at the CAC are upset because the city installed just one light in the parking lot.
The lot is owned by the city of Wilmington.
"I think there needs to be a much bigger effort made," said Terrie Batson, who as a dance instructor attends the center frequently.
Those at the center are upset to learn that the city just installed eight new lights at the Kenan Fountain on Market Street.
The historic fountain has been hit several times by drivers. In December, the city spent $73,000 on repairs to the fountain after it took a direct hit from a car.
Improved lighting around the fountain was installed earlier this week to prevent drivers from crashing into it.
No additional lights were added; however, the older fixtures were replaced with more energy efficient and brighter LED lights. According to a press release from the city, the city spent $8,300 to replace light fixtures on the traffic poles at the intersection, as well as around the base of the fountain.
But some believe that money would have been better spent at the CAC.
"I think that's completely backwards," said Batson. "I think the concern needs to be more here where you have families and children coming in and out of this facility all the time."
Councilman Kevin O'Grady said before Proutey's killing, city staffers had looked at the area and determined one light was needed.
The city installed that light following the murder.
O'Grady said police officers who investigated the murder told city leaders that more lighting likely wouldn't have prevented the crime.
He said there are no other plans for more lights to go in at that parking lot. However, the city will review the situation if it gets complaints.
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