Tuesday, December 19, 2006

City Christmas decorations...

I was listening to Dakota Huseby on the radio today and she was talking with Kevin Dean about some new Christmas lights the city of Grand Forks is testing out.

As you're probably very well aware, the current Christmas decorations that the city has on streetlights throughout town are...well, horrible. They are decades old. Also, apparently it is impossible for the city to change burnt out light bulbs (certainly impossible to replace them with the correct color, at least) and they have clearly not been properly stored throughout the years. They are now bent out of shape, very faded and worn looking, and you'll be lucky to find one with half of the lights actually operating. In other words, they need replacing! (Read an earlier story about the city's decorations here.)

So that brings us to these new lights the city is testing. Apparently, a company that sells decorations for city Christmas displays has lent a few streetlight decorations to the city of Grand Forks to see what citizens think of them. The company is hoping that the city will, in turn, buy enough decorations for streetlights throughout town next year. I was excited to hear this news. New city Christmas decorations is something that I've been waiting for for years now. The lights on loan to the city are located on DeMers Avenue right east of Washington Street towards downtown.

The city wants to gauge public opinion on these lights. My opinion? Hmmm...can't we do better than this? Almost all of the designs are very unattractive, in my opinion. It is actually difficult to distinguish what most of them are. I'm just not very impressed with the designs. They are really very "small town" looking...something that I've thought we've always tried to NOT emulate in Grand Forks.

Really, the only design that seems halfway decent to me is the snowflake. I kind of like the snowflake. It is rather attractive and easily recognizable. Also, I like having something that doesn't scream Christmas. That way, the city can keep them up a while after Christmas without seeming lazy. Also, no one can accuse a snowflake of being politically incorrect. We are known for our winters here, so a snowflake seems like a logical design for the city to use as streetlight decorations for the winter months. I also want to point out that I think it is best for the city to stick with one design for all streetlights. Having many different designs throughout town would look cluttered and "small town".

So that's my opinion. The only design I would be happy to see the city choose is the snowflake one. Now, tell me what you think of the decorations. If you haven't had a chance, I encourage you to drive downtown and take a look.

22 comments:

Semireg said...

Christmas, you surely mean winter solstice. For that, the snowflake would be perfect. It could be left up year round, since snow is such a boppin' tourist attraction. :)

RJT said...

Maybe you should post some pics of the decorations so people like me who live in the warm desert can see what you're talking about. I personally don't think they can top a decorated saguaro cactus, but if I had pics..... Thanks

GrandForksGuy said...

I still don't have a digital camera. Perhaps you would like to donate to the fund? ;)

Anonymous said...

Note to city...LCD lights. That's where it's at for this application.

Coffee Guy said...

I hate to always be Little Miss Negativity, but I agree with you. They look like decorations that were hung up in some other town for the last 15 years.

JGS said...

I would have to agree also. Those new christmas decorations really didn't impress me. It does really remind you of a small town look and I would hate to see the city buy more of these. Is there any other companys out there that makes "city like" christmas decorations out there? I surely would think so.

WeatherGal said...

Personally, I think the decorations are a waste of taxpayers' money. I don't want to sound like a Scrooge, so if that's what the majority of GFers want, then I guess I don't have a problem with garland, lights and snowflakes.

DrJ said...

Sorry to change the topic, but...Hey coffee guy! We need a Starbucks on Gateway...any chance of that?? There's a lot of corner lots available along that well-traveled road, with easy access for commuters.

That is my Christmas wish.

Raised in Minot said...

Gee, the Christmas/Holiday decorations are all raggedy and worn. I wonder if the repeated exposure to harsh weather could have anything to do with that (?). Gimme a break. The joy of the season should not depend on tarnished ornaments and burned-out light bulbs. The sentiment of tradition and the spirit of the winter holidays are more than enough reason to celebrate and trim the city streets with whatever is available. With such a crumby attitude, you'll probably get nothing but coal in your stocking. If you're in the dark, light a candle.

Coffee Guy said...

Raised in Minot, we're not talking about the old ornaments. We're discussing whether we think out government should spend our precious resources on crappy looking new decorations.

Besides, Christmas is about getting presents.

Anonymous said...

I was in Bismarck a few weeks ago and the thing that stood out to me most was that they have much better Christmas decorations than GF.

Not that it's really important or anything.

Charlie said...

Y'all are joking, right?

Either that, or Minot is looking better all the time.


Merry Christmas, good people...no one is taking anyone too seriously in this blog. :o)

GrandForksGuy said...

Has anybody else bothered to take the city's poll about the decorations? I was expecting some type of questionaire with questions about each design. Instead, the only answer we can give is "I like the decorations" or "I don't like the decorations". Is the city really trying to get some constructive feedback here or not? The city really should post pictures of each design and allow citizens to voice their opinions on each design.

Good Ol' Boy said...

Here I am, late to the discussion (again). I'm aligned with Weathergal- I can take decorations or I can leave 'em. Snowflakes get my nod if we have to- no need to fight the ACLU that way, and everybody's happy.
But seriously, how about the city crews plow the friggin' streets when it snows, instead of messing with lights at all? I really think clear, ice-free streets would say more about this town than what lights we have on the thoroughfares. Ribbons of ice on the residential streets are unprofessional in this old snowplower's view. Harumphh..

GrandForksGuy said...

I, for one, would like to see more of an effort put into keeping the streetlights throughout town properly maintained. There are way too many streetlights in town where the bulb has been burnt out for weeks or even months...yes, months...I'm not exaggerating. That's kind of ridiculous. Why bother to have a streetlight that you leave a burnt out light bulb in for so long? Whenever I complain to the city about burnt out light bulbs, I get the usual spiel about how some lights are maintained by the city while others are maintained by the power company. I really don't care whose job it is to make sure a streetlight is operating...it should be done no matter who is in charge. I've said this to the city before and they have responded by asking me to mention any other streetlights that are burnt out in town besides the specific one I'm complaining about. I have responded by telling them that, if I was really going to compile such a list, I could go up and down each street in town and ultimately probably find a couple of hundred burnt out lights. That's not my job...I don't own the lights. The city owns the lights and they are there for the safety and convenience of the city's drivers and pedestrians. It's the city's responsibility to routinely drive around and look for burnt out bulbs, in my opinion. I know I'm going on about this, but this is one of my biggest pet peeves...

C. Y. said...

Now that you mention streets . . . when are they going to find a way to mark driving lanes. It's hard to tell what lane you are in whenever it rains. Paint doesn't seem to work too well so maybe some kind of marker or pavement grooving?

IF we want to have a destination city we need to make it easy for them foreigners to get around.

wendian said...

c.y. -- Grand Forks could take a note or two from Seattleites who use a concoction of super reflective tape, and painted bumps in the road to be noticible in their always-present rain or snow. I agree that some areas of town are very hard to interpret, especially left turn lanes at places like the southbound Target/Menards intersection.

As far as the street decorations go, I'm all for the snowflakes only. Just about the time the city would purchase a ton of angels and bells, they'd get slapped with a lawsuit for separation of church and state. Besides, the snowflakes could go up earlier and stay up later. We could use the snowflake as a marketing concept and turn it into our "thing".

Just my 2 cents :)

GrandForksGuy said...

Wendian, I couldn't agree with you more. I really like the idea of having a design that could easily be kept up for a while after Christmas without the city looking lazy.

Anonymous said...

Wow. It appears that the thousands spent on that "Sunflake City" campaign really sunk in.

Yikes.

wendian said...

I just think snowflakes are more "religion-neutral" and could be an identifier for GF. We've got hockey, curling, UND's Force of the North with their icy campaign--why not embrace the snowflake too and tie the whole picture together?

Isn't there a southend watertower that says something about "sunflake city"? I guess I've wondered from time to time why that's the only reference I ever see/hear of GF being a sunflake city. Why didn't the campaign work, anon, if you don't mind me asking?

Anonymous said...

Hi Wendian, I was just referring to the fact that you mentioned a snowflake could be our marketing thing when, in the past, the CVB had already hyped up the Sunflake City thing; logo and all.

The combo of a snowflake and sunshine may not apply. I'd like to see a 'squiter on a hockey puck.

That covers it.

Anonymous said...

When it comes to decorating our city for such things as the holidays, I think it would be in everyone's best interest to just ask EGF officials for their opinion. They seem to actually have some taste and take some pride in how their city looks.

This, "Don't waste the tax payers money on this or that" attitude is simply ridiculous. If were up to you people, anything the government did or built would be made of sticks and cinder blocks. Is that really the community you want to live in?