2011-01-29 / News

‘Adopt a decoration’ could lead to new holiday lights

By Scott Rawdon

BUCKEYE LAKE – There were still 335 shopping days until Christmas, but Buckeye Lake Fiscal Officer Vince Popo told council Monday night that he and Streets Superintendent Mark Dymek arrived at a way to upgrade the village’s holiday ornamentation for the 2011 season adopt a decoration. Similar to ODOT’s Adopt a Highway program, individuals, families, and businesses could sponsor one or several holiday decorations to replace the village’s aging supply.

“It was my son (Michael’s) idea,” Popo said Wednesday. He said he and his son were brainstorming over how to raise money for flags for the Village of Millersport. Michael came up with “Adopt a Flag.” “People think the Village of Millersport buys those flags,” he said. When Popo, Dymek, and Buckeye Lake Water Tech Toby Miller were discussing what to do about Buckeye Lake’s holiday decorations, “We just expanded on the idea,” Popo said. He believes people don’t understand how expensive is to buy and power the decorations. Popo said it cost the village $1,203.16 to light last holiday season’s display. Under the plan, several donors may join together to purchase one decoration, if they wish. He expects the village will display a banner during the holiday season with the names of those who contributed.

Director of Development Valerie Hans told council members Monday that the village could save 80 to 90 percent in holiday lighting energy costs if it only used LED lights in Christmas displays. The down side is replacing the village’s decorations with new ones equipped with LED lights would cost roughly $10,000. Hans said she may be able to find a grant over the long term, but replacing the decorations on the short term is pretty expensive.

In other council news:

• Parks and Recreation Commission

Chair Marianne Perine told council that her commission had a busy 2010 and 2011 looks to be the same. “We’re in the process of upgrading the needs for Ryan- Braden Park,” she said. Some supplies were purchased for the park, but they can’t be used until spring. An Energy Cooperative Round-up grant funded a resurfacing of the park’s basketball court and covered freshly painted lines. “We’re in talks with the village concerning security and maintenance of the parks,” said Perine. “We need help from the village if we can get grants for improvements.” She said the commission maintains the skate park with limited funding.

The commission hosted the Licking County United Way Agency “Day of Caring last summer, when volunteers painted the Ryan-Braden Park’s shelter house. Also, Perine said the Buckeye Lake Eagles donated $1,000 and the Buckeye Lake VFW donated $500 toward park equipment. George Braden, one of the park’s namesakes, donated $200, a flagpole, and a flag to the park.

“This is a very hard working group,” said Council President Charlene Hayden. “It accomplishes things with very little money.”

Perine said the commission is in the process of writing grants to establish a wetlands park west of Buckeye Lake Village in conjunction with ODNR, OSU, Kenyon College, and others. She added that the Gateway Project on Ohio 79 near the former Buckeye Lake Truck Stop was funded through grants, but those grants had nothing to do with the Parks and Recreation Commission, as some people believe. Perine was concerned that some people who donated to the Gateway Project may have believed they were contributing directly to the Park and Recreation Commission when they donated to the Gateway Project, but the two are separate.

• Buckeye Lake Village cannot be part of the Main Street USA program because it doesn’t have a mass of historic buildings on its main street, Hayden said. However, the village can still take advantage of some of Heritage Ohio’s conferences and training sessions. Heritage Ohio is the Statewide Main Street Coordinating Program in Ohio. Statewide Main Street coordinating programs help Ohio cities and villages revitalize their downtowns.

Hayden said Heritage Ohio Assistant Director Frank Quinn suggested Buckeye Lake Village join Heritage Ohio at its “unstaffed organization” level. Buckeye Lake’s downtown revitalization project steering committee will meet at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 3, at Catfish Charley’s. “At that time they will try to decide another name for their group and do some strategic planning to bring the already formed committees together,” Hayden said.

The village created four committees of four to five members each to explore four major development aspects:

*Organization, which is the building of consensus and cooperation between the groups that play a role in the downtown.

*Design involves improving the downtown’s image by improving its physical appearance - not just the appearance of buildings, but also of street lights, window displays, parking areas, signs, sidewalks, streetscapes, landscaping, promotional materials and all other elements that convey a visual message about what the downtown is and what it has to offer.

*Promotion involves marketing the downtown’s unique characteristics to shoppers, investors, new businesses, tourists, and others. Effective promotion creates a positive image of the downtown through retail promotional activity and special events utilizing the downtown as a stage area of community activities.

*Economic Restructuring involves strengthening the existing economic base of the downtown while diversifying it. Economic Restructuring activities include helping existing downtown businesses expand, recruiting new businesses, providing a balanced mix, converting unused space into productive property, and sharpening the competitiveness of downtown merchants.

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