City Council Votes To Keep Light Shining On Organization's Meeting Spot
TULSA, Oklahoma - The Tulsa City Council voted Thursday night to let an organization that helps the homeless and people in need keep going.
For the past few weeks, Night Light Tulsa has been in limbo, wondering if it will keep its meeting spot below a city highway bridge.
Organizers said the best part of the decision is being able to continue to serve the nearly 200 people who come out every Thursday.
Night Light has become more than a service, it's become a part of the community, and for weeks the group has leaned on prayer and community support as their meeting spot was in jeopardy.
For two years, they've been meeting under the Maybelle-Brady Bridge, helping the homeless and other people in need, like Philip Setton.
"I know what it's like to find someplace to crash, eat, where to sleep without being harmed, you know, on the streets," he said.
But Thursday night was no longer a day in question, it was a day of victory.
In a unanimous vote, the city council decided to let the light keep shining under the bridge, and Night Light co-founder, Sarah Grounds, couldn’t have been happier.
"For us to be able to come out and say ‘yes we get to continue to be out here with you, to support you and walk this journey with you,’ is so exciting for us," she said.
In recent months, Night Light needed special event city permits to be under the bridge, but as each month passed, new requirements like barricades, portable toilets, and parking setups were introduced.
After those requirements were met, another issue came up, according to Randall White with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
"We just wanted to raise that flag and make sure everyone was aware of what the safety concerns were," he said.
ODOT is responsible for keeping state highways and roads safe; and with the threat of falling debris or issues with emergency crews getting through, having so many people under the bridge was a safety concern.
When ODOT pointed out the concern the city council had to vote on whether to make Night Light find a new meeting place.
Thursday night, they voted to let them stay.
Setton said, "I think they [Night Light] are doing a great job, and they can continue to go on for a long time."
Night Light representatives said there have never been any problems in the past; however, they do understand the potential dangers. But just in case, there is insurance.
In the next few weeks, the group hopes to have another big celebration to mark two years of service.