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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Downtown decorations may be skimpy, but it takes funding

Thursday, December 7, 2006

With residents decorating their yards and downtown stores creating window displays, one can feel the Christmas spirit in the air. But some people feel that downtown does not feel very Christmasy with only tree lights and a canopy to decorate the square.

The BannerGraphic website recently asked the community what it thought about downtown's holiday lights display. Out of the 159 people that responded to the poll, 45 percent said they felt there needed to be more decorations. Twenty-five percent felt the display was sufficient, while 30 percent said they did not care either way.

Even though this poll was not scientifically performed, it does show how the community feels about the Christmas season.

Mayor Nancy Michael told the BannerGraphic Monday that it was helpful to know how people felt and that they are wanting more decorations.

Michael said she met with GP Designs Inc., a Marion company that designs holiday displays, banners and flags, at last year's Indiana Association of Cities and Towns, and she is looking at purchasing some banners for the courthouse square.

According to Michael, she's looking at purchasing either banners that represent the Christmas season or the winter season.

These banners would be 30 inches by 60 inches, and range anywhere from $69 to $90 per banner.

Michael said she had also looked at wreaths, garland, lights and other Christmas decorations. But because of the price and limited funding, decorations like these will have to wait.

So who decorates the trees downtown and puts up the canopy of lights? The answer is Michael Nees and the Main Street Greencastle organization. Every year, along with Wal-Mart, Main Street Greencastle decorates a total of 50 trees with electrical outlets on the square and a block down Washington, Jackson, Indiana and Vine streets.

Nees said that this year Wal-Mart was unable to assist with the decoration, so it was up to Nees, his wife and a couple of volunteers. Due to a limited amount of lights, Main Street Greencastle was only able to put two strands on each tree. Nees said that in order to do them right, there should be a total of six strands of lights.

Nees did point out an issue with having electricity in the tree pits.

"If one goes bad, the entire line goes bad," Nees said.

Many residents might remember the snowflake banners that went around the square on light posts. One year they were up and the next they were gone. According to Nees, many of these banners were ripped down by the wind, but nobody turned them in. He also said the few that were left in storage also disappeared.

Nees said that more banners would be good, but there's an issue with the old fashioned light poles. The light poles are made of fiberglass, so they could not withstand the weight of a banner.

Mayor Michael brought up the point that if people want to see more decorations, it would be helpful if they made some donations to Main Street Greencastle. Due to a limited budget for promotions, Michael posed a question for the residents. "Would they prefer to use tax dollars, donations or a mixture of both?" Michael asked.

Nees said he would like to receive more than just money to help with the decorations. He told the BannerGraphic he would accept donations of lights, garland, other Christmas decorations and residents' time.

Nees hopes one day to have enough volunteers that can just go pick a tree and decorate and undecorate it. On top of that, he said he hoped that the volunteers would also make the commitment and take the decorations home to store.

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