— Holiday lights in too poor of condition to display —
East Carson Street will be a little less festive this holiday season with the South Side Chamber of Commerce’s (SSCC) decision to forgo putting up the holiday lights this year.
“We feel so bad about it,” said Kim Collins, president of the SSCC. The problem, she explained, was the condition of the lights: they’re covered in rust and don’t look very good in the light.
She said even last year, the lights were showing signs of rust and they didn’t think it would be very professional of the chamber to ask donors for money to place their names on shabby holiday lights.
Ms. Collins said the South Side Local Development Company had given the chamber a grant for the lights, but the money was designated for putting up the lights not for purchasing new ones.
In 2010, Diesel, Local Bar + Kitchen and AMPD Group, purchased LED lights and worked with the Chamber of Commerce to arrange hanging the 30 new lights on Carson Street at a discounted rate. They were able to save more than half of the cost of putting up the lights over previous years.
This year, the chamber focused on opening the South Side Welcome Center at the corner of 11th and East Carson Street and didn’t realize the condition of the lights until it was too late to raise money for new ones and to install them for the holiday season.
It’s a lot of work for a volunteer organization such as the chamber, she explained, to get the permits, make sure they’re in working condition and schedule the putting up and taking down of the lights. Each year it takes more than $4,000 for the installation, take down and lighting of the lights.
Next year, the chamber plans to research new more durable lights and figure out a fundraising to pay for them. Ms. Collins said they need to purchase a minimum of 20 new lights for East Carson Street.
“It’s great for the businesses,” she said, adding it increases the festiveness of the Holiday Season along East Carson Street.
The chamber is also passing on putting up the Christmas Tree in Cindy Esser Plaza on 12th Street this year. Ms. Collins said they will also consider erecting a Christmas Tree next year with new decorations.