SAN DIEGO – The Kensington community is pushing back on a city improvement project they say puts historic lamps in jeopardy.

Residents voicing concern say they haven’t had any input on the Kensington Heights Circuit Upgrade project, which is already underway.

The project began last fall and involves upgrading the wiring of more than 50 lamps, as well as replacing the lamps themselves.

“We are preserving the character of the community through the design of the street light itself to best match what was existing,” said Luis Schaar, Deputy Director for San Diego’s Engineering and Capitol Projects Department.

More than 900 residents, who signed a petition, do not want replacements.

“They can restore these street lights and preserve our history,” said Jim Kelly-Markham, Save Our Lamps founder. 

Representatives from Mayor Todd Gloria and Council President Sean Elo-Rivera’s offices were there, but not the elected leaders themselves.

“We made decisions on our design based on our coordination with the community,” said Schaar.

The city maintains they had contact with two community groups, The Kensington Maintenance Assessment District (K-MAP) and Kensington Talmadge Planning Group, early on in the process.

Representatives from both groups claim they were only ever made aware of the wiring improvements and had never gotten into design discussions.

“They’re going to say well maybe next time we’ll get you involved earlier,” said Kelly-Markham.

This is a $1.5 million construction contract that’s already been awarded and work has already started. The parts have not arrived to replace the lights, so some residents are still holding onto hope something can be done.

In the meantime, the city has promised to get more community input for future phases of this project.