Archive for Wednesday, December 15, 2004

City to take over holiday lighting

December 15, 2004

In coming years, the city of Tonganoxie will be in charge of putting up and taking down holiday lights from the trees on Fourth Street.

At Monday night's Tonganoxie City Council meeting, Fire Chief Dave Bennett -- also an electrician -- apologized to the mayor and the council because not all tree lights were lit downtown.

"I'm running behind on the Christmas lights," Bennett said. "My children have been sick. ... I did not mean to offend anybody or upset them about the Christmas lights not being on."

Each year, for the past several years, Bennett has handled making sure that the lights are working. Many downtown merchants, but not all, currently purchase their own lights and put them up. But Bennett has repaired receptacles and worked on other lights.

"It's something I do every year," he said. "I rarely bill the city, unless we've had a lot of vandalism on them."

Bennett asked that the city council take over the holiday lighting project -- and city council members agreed.

Mayor Dave Taylor said he strongly favors the city taking over the project, starting next holiday season.

"I'm with you on this," he told Bennett.

He envisions commercial-grade lights being put up and turned on by Thanksgiving -- and taken down about Jan. 15.

"That way, they're not up all year round," the mayor said.

And the mayor would like to see red ribbons wrapped around lights poles in downtown Tonganoxie.

For now, Bennett planned to take a vacation day to work on downtown lights on Tuesday.

"It's something I want to do," Bennett said. "It looks great when it's done correctly. By no means was I trying to make a statement about Christmas this year (by not completing the work sooner)."

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