The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

January 23, 2014

Campaign begins for lights display

By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald

---- — CAMANCHE — Although Christmas has come and gone, the Parks and Recreation board of Camanche has begun pushing a new campaign to “Light our Town,” with city-wide Christmas light displays.

It’s been four years since Camanche has featured Christmas lights in its town, and in order to get a new set without taxing the citizens, Judy Dell and Audra Adams began the campaign, canvassing local businesses and organizations for donations to purchase the lights.

“We have sent out to businesses in Camanche as well as some in Clinton. People that we think might want to market their name,” Dell said. “You’re supposed to make your town look pretty and, this is the way to do it.”

The requests to those local businesses is for a one time donation of $600 to purchase a 5-foot LED snowflake light display. With that $600, a donor will receive recognition of their sponsorship on a 3-by-5 foot banner that will hang below the display for a minimum of three years.

In addition to the advertising banner, the donation will also be tax deductible and, as Dell said, will showcase that business or organization’s commitment to the city of Camanche.

“Most of the businesses we market are either in Camanche or close to Camanche, that benefit from the patronage from Camanche citizens,” Dell said. “Those are the business that I think are interested in supporting this community.”

So far, the Parks and Recreation board has seen positive feedback from the community and its citizens and Adams says it’s because of the strong community support the city of Camanche has always had.

“We are a great little community,” Adams said. “I think everyone agrees that putting up lights around the holidays is a great way to brighten the season. It truly is about the children in our community and how we can create positive memories for them.”

One community member especially is showing his support for Dell and Adams’ campaign, and hopes the city will do their part to ensure their mission becomes a reality.

Mayor Ken Fahlbeck is pleased to see both woman putting such dedication and commitment to beautifying the city of Camanche, but he is concerned that the city has done little to this point to providing funding for their campaign.

“I kind of have mixed feelings on it,” Fahlbeck said. “I do commend them for everything they’re doing in seeking out business support and that, but on the other hand I find it kind of hard as a city official, that we can’t somehow come up with some money to help them in the budget.”

In his effort to aid in the campaign, Fahlbeck plans to strongly advocate for the Christmas light fund during the city council’s next budget session Tuesday.

Currently, the city budget does account for the wiring process that will need to be approved to provide electrical outlets to hook up the light displays, but as for the funding of those displays, it is listed as completely donation.

If he can, Fahlbeck plans to persuade some of his council members to see the benefits of providing Christmas lights to the community, and the positive feelings residents will get when they see them displayed.

“I think it’s important that we fund stuff like this,” Fahlbeck said. “In a town of 4,400 people, we don’t have the biggest tax base but we have a big enough tax base that I feel we should be able to come up with enough to help purchase these lights. If little towns like Calamus, Low Moor and Follets can do it, we can do it.”