Board Considers ‘Lights In The Village’ Event
LAKEWOOD — Out of the fear that the continued spread of COVID-19 will create a darker holiday season than normal, one Lakewood resident approached the village board with an idea that would lighten up the forthcoming time of year.
During the board’s work session on Tuesday, resident John Streed suggested a “Lights In The Village” event on one of the Saturdays prior to the Christmas holiday.
“At first, I thought of the idea of a reverse parade for Christmas, just like they’re doing in Jamestown,” Streed told board members. “But in talking to merchants and other people, we had an idea if you would consider a ‘Lights In The Village’ on the Saturday before Christmas. I talked to a couple of the merchants and they were all interested.”
Streed said the coordinated display of lights up and down Chautauqua Avenue would be a great way to attract visitors to the village’s various storefronts, shops and restaurants.
“During this whole time, economically, things are going to be tough, but people are still going to go out and they are still going to go shopping and how do we get them down into the village?” he said, explaining that his vision would include lights all the way down to Lakewood Beach.
“It would give people a reason to say, ‘Let’s drive down into the village and check out the lights,'” he said. “I just think it would be cool to try and do it up as much as possible. That could promote people coming down, being down here and potentially spending money down here without having a formal parade or something.”
“We have some new merchants in there and we could really do it up all the way down so that it’s not dark and dismal this year,” he added. “We’ve got enough darkness with COVID this year. Why not light up the village?”
Streed originally suggested Saturday, Dec. 19, as the date. However, Doug Schutte, village board member, suggested that Dec. 12 might be a better date. He and other members were open to the idea.
“You want people coming to the village to brighten it up and put some information in the paper,” he said. “Then you can have it so that everyone flips them on at the same time or something like that.”
Streed volunteered to contact the business owners in the village to coordinate the effort. Mayor Randy Holcomb asked that he keep the village board “posted as to how you’re making out and send some emails to the board because that will take place before our next meeting.”
During the meeting Holcomb read an update from the village’s fire chief, Kurt Hallberg, regarding the department’s activity during the Nov. 15 “high-wind event,” reporting that it had responded to 17 calls — 12 storm related and five for emergency services.
“They started at 1:27 a.m. on Sunday morning and we had answered 25 calls by Tuesday morning,” Hallberg said in the report, noting that the department helped take care of “two serious wires-down calls where we had an active arcing of primary wires” on Route 394 and Keller Road and another on Lakecrest Avenue.
“Both required the roads be closed until National Grid could get time to respond,” Hallberg said, thanking the Busti Police Department “for helping us with traffic issues and some people disregarding direction from our fire and police and the Lakewood Department of Public Works Mr. (Thomas) Pilling who helped us cut up and move some of the downed trees.”
Trustee Ellen Barnes was also complimentary of the village’s services during the storm.
“I watched them right outside my window as a branch the size of a tree came down and blocked the entire intersection,” she said. “I also know from talking to my co-workers at dispatch: they received well over 200 calls during that time period and National Grid was backed up for days. Our guys really did a fabulous job keeping things open and safe and secure for cleanup so I give them all a giant ‘Thank you.'”
Hallberg also provided an additional report — for the first time in “some years,” the village fire department “actually assisted in getting a cat down from a tree on Shadyside Avenue.”
“The owner said it had been up the tree approximately 35 feet for four days,” he said. “The shaking of the tree when we put the platform ladder truck up there was enough for him to decide to get down on his own. He came down part way, he fell 20 feet and his fall was broken by firefighter Nate Card who got a scratch on the hand for his efforts.”
“The cat ran away unharmed.”