Christmas may be 327 days away, but it never hurts to be prepared.
The Fennimore Common Council discussed the possible purchase of LED Christmas light bulbs during a meeting Monday evening, Jan. 28.
“We brought this to you because Margaret [Sprague] and I can’t agree on anything,” Mayor Charles Stenner said with a laugh.
The matter at hand is a choice between clear or white bulbs and colored bulbs.
“Christmas is a colorful season,” Stenner said.
“Christmas is beautiful white,” alderperson Gerald Bollant replied.
The lights would replace bulbs in the garland that wraps Lincoln Avenue street lights during the holidays, as well as the wreaths that hang from the lights.
Each length of garland includes 25 bulbs, and each wreath includes 20 bulbs and three flame bulbs.
“We need to replace bulbs every year as we are going out, so we thought we might, if the council would agree, to mix in some colored bulbs,” Stenner explained. “We would start on the garland.”
Forty-four street lights are decorated each holiday season.
“I had so many people tell me how lovely our community was as they traveled through during the holidays,” Promotions Coordinator Linda Parrish said.
To replace all bulbs in the garland and wreaths with LED bulbs, and all flame bulbs in the center of the wreaths, would cost approximately $3,000.
“We don’t have to buy enough to replace everything,” Sprague said. “It can be an ongoing project, but they are on sale right now.”
LED lights are on sale through February at Temple Display in Oswego, Ill., according to information presented to the Council.
“The energy thing is really insignificant,” alderperson Greg Fry said.
The change to LED bulbs would save the city between $350 and $450 annually, Sprague reported.
“So it would take 10 years to pay for them,” Fry concluded.
Funds to replace Christmas light bulbs are included in the celebrations account of the city budget, which includes $4,000 to $5,000.
“We could easily spend $500 [on bulbs],” Sprague said.
When the Council meets again in February, alderpersons will have the opportunity to compare garland with colored bulbs versus garland with white bulbs.
“I want to put a bunch of colored ones in there,” Stenner said. “After a meeting we will go into the fire department, turn off all the lights and show you the difference between the two.”
“They will both look nice, either or,” alderperson Mark Schoepp said.
“It will look better than bulb out, bulb out, bulb out,” Fry added.
Monday’s Council meeting began an hour earlier than usual to allow time for a follow-up to a “Generating Ideas” exercise. The exercise was a collaboration of the Council, Fennimore Chamber of Commerce and Fennimore Industrial and Economic Development Corporation [FIEDC].
All in attendance agreed it is important to accentuate Fennimore’s positives, including its industrial park, future disc golf course and abundant trout fishing.
“That is going to draw from all over, from what little I’ve read about it,” Bollant said. “If we could accommodate [the golfers] with something that is to their benefit, it will bring them back.
“That is something I think we should promote.”
Sprague asked Southwest Wisconsin Technical College President Duane Ford if the College is promoting the disc golf course on its website, and how it should be promoted on Fennimore’s website.
“I think the key to get into the Professional Disc Golf Association of America’s website,” Ford said. “That is where every disc golfer goes to find a directory of golf courses.
“They will find you. As long as we get it listed there, there shouldn’t be any trouble. That is key.”
FIEDC’s Karyl Nicholson said she has heard of great trout fishing multiple times through her involvement with the group.
“Some of the best trout fishing in many miles is right here in Grant County,” alderperson David Streif said.
As the exercise drew to a close, it was agreed to prioritize the Oakwood Nature Park disc golf course, trout fishing and how to best utilize the industrial park.