New LightsOn! program introduced in Spring Lake Park

Staff Writer
Since 2013, I have primarily covered the Anoka-Hennepin and Spring Lake Park school districts as well as the city of Spring Lake Park for ABC Newspapers.

The Spring Lake Park Police Department is one of 15 agencies statewide participating in LightsOn!, a new program intended to help Minnesotans struggling to make ends meet fix broken headlights, taillights and turn signals.

After pulling over a vehicle with lights that are functioning improperly, police officers can offer drivers a voucher for free repairs at eight Bobby and Steve’s Auto World locations in the Twin Cities. The closest to Spring Lake Park is the business’ Columbia Heights location, 3701 Central Ave. NE.

Police are able to distribute the vouchers at their discretion.

MicroGrants, a nonprofit organization in Minnesota with a mission to “spur economic self-sufficiency by giving strategic grants to low-income people of potential through partner agencies,” pays for repairs with the assistance of Bobby and Steve’s Auto World.

“Having dependable transportation is pivotal to moving out of poverty,” MicroGrants CEO Don Samuels said. “Service vouchers are a simple solution that give people the opportunity to maintain steady transportation so they’re able to stay employed, stay afloat and stay connected to their community.”

LightsOn! vouchers not only alleviate the financial burden of auto repairs for low-income Minnesotans and keep roads safer, they also provide an opportunity for law enforcement to have positive interactions with the community.

“We are very excited to participate in this program,” Spring Lake Park Police Chief Doug Ebeltoft said. “This is yet another way that we’re trying to reach out to our community, and those coming into our community, to promote goodwill and good thoughts.”

Spring Lake Park officers have already started distributing vouchers.

The LightsOn! program does not have an end date at this time.

Other cities participating in the program include Brooklyn Center, Brooklyn Park, Columbia Heights, Crystal, Edina, Maplewood, Minneapolis, Mounds View, Richfield, Robbinsdale, Roseville, St. Louis Park, St. Paul and West St. Paul, according to a press release

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