CHARLESTON, W.Va. - It's lights out at the West Virginia Veterans Memorial, but no one is sure why.
Both the walkway lights outside the monument and floodlights meant to light up the memorial are on the fritz and have been for some time.
William Becher, 69, of South Charleston, said he first noticed the problem more than a year ago. The Air Force veteran said he regularly visits the Culture Center and noticed the lights were out after leaving a late-evening event.
Diane Holley-Brown, spokeswoman for the state Department of Administration, said no one at the Capitol Complex's Division of General Services knows when the lights went out, but the agency was first alerted to the problem sometime last year.
"The only thing they know is it is an electrical issue. It is more extensive than changing light bulbs or anything like that," Brown said.
She said the monument's electrical circuitry needs to be evaluated, as the circuits and electrical panel "appears to be susceptible to rainwater leaking."
"Unfortunately, the panel is located in a confined space so it is difficult to determine the exact problem," she said.
The general services division is now in the process of hiring an architectural and engineering firm to assess the problem, Brown said. A contract for the project has not been awarded yet, but she said the division wanted to get the problem fixed "as soon as possible."
Becher said he believes the darkened memorial is a safety hazard, since there are no lights to illuminate the parking lot behind it. But more than that, he said leaving the lights off is discourteous to veterans.