Our View: Use Christmas tree to city’s advantage
While some might question the wisdom of the city of Tonganoxie paying more than $5,000 for an artificial Christmas tree, what's done is done. Now it is incumbent upon city leaders to get the best bang for the buck.
When City Council members approved purchase of the tree in October, Mayor Mike Vestal commented, "Yeah, it is an expense, but it's something that's going to last us a long time. Plus it will get people downtown and get them into the holiday spirit."
We agree, if the proper course is pursued.
The Mayor's Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony is one way to use the tree to get people downtown, but leaders shouldn't stop there; after all, the city owes it to taxpayers to derive dividends from the tree on more than just a one-evening-a-year basis.
We'd suggest a concerted effort by the city and Downtown Tonganoxie boosters to organize events around the tree throughout the holiday season. One afternoon it might be a church choir singing carols; another morning, it could be a school group putting on a Christmas pageant; another time it could be a civic group ringing bells for the Salvation Army kettle or some other charitable endeavor.
Whatever the case, the tree needs to be a highly visible backdrop for holiday-season activities that do, indeed, encourage people to get out and come downtown. Time is running out to plan such events this year, but now is the time to sow the seeds for such annual endeavors.