It may not have been Christmas in July, but Christmas was most certainly being discussed last month, as city officials and members of the Holiday Lighting Committee made plans for the upcoming holidays.
Earlier this spring, the city received notice that they would be receiving a grant to be used to upgrade their holiday lighting display. The grant of $121,350 has been received through the Northeast Ohio Public Energy Council (NOPEC) Energized Community (NEC) Grant Program.
According to NOPEC officials, “the NOPEC Energized Community (NEC) Grant Program provides grants to NOPEC member communities for energy-related projects. Established by NOPEC Inc. and NextEra Energy, the primary goal of providing funds is to help communities implement energy savings or energy infrastructure measures. Grants can be used for government facilities, residents, or businesses.
City Council adopted an ordinance at its July 16 meeting that accepts the proposal of Horizon Lighting Systems, from Westlake, for holiday lighting decorations for the city as the lowest and best bid. Mayor Bob Stefanik said that after a request for proposals was made, three vendors applied. A meeting with the Holiday Lighting Committee then took place and Horizon was chosen. “What was nice was that they are a local company,” said Stefanik. “The others were out of state.” Horizon is the firm that does the holiday lights for Stan Hewitt in Akron.
Stefanik noted that the current holiday lights and displays are decades old and are in need of being replaced. Initially the company will install, remove and store them the first year. “We’ll see how it goes this year and that will determine how it will be done next year,” he said.
Although the sponsored Christmas trees will be done away with, not only the City Green area will be decked out. The North Royalton Fire and Police Departments will be lighted, and also the city’s Service Department and City Hall. In addition to lights bedecking the buildings, various holiday scenes of various themes will be scattered here and there around those buildings. There will even be a Santa on a fire truck! There will be three scenic areas on the City Green. One area will showcase Victorian ice skaters and carolers; one will show Santa and his elves and one area with deer and snowman scenes. Trees in between these areas will be wrapped with lights. City Hall will feature a caroling family.
“Our lighting was definitely old and tired and it was always a funding problem. Now with the grant with NOPEC we can really do something nice,” said Stefanik. As always, the lights will start being installed just after Halloween, to take advantage of the weather. The annual lighting ceremony and Christmas parade is targeted to take place on Sunday, December 1.
Stefanik said that they would like to add the holiday decor to street lights, but the budget would not allow this year. “There’s a chance to apply for more funding next year,” he said. “We will be applying for more next year to expand for the lighting to go down Rt. 82.”
Contributing Writer