Resident helps light up Baltimore
So the Baltimore resident began a campaign to raise money to help the village – which recently laid off four employees and is trying to conserve funding – afford to put up its traditional display. While it looked for a while as though there would be no holiday lights displayed this year at all because village administrators decided it would be too expensive, the lights were hung around the village Wednesday morning.
“I’m elated, extremely happy,” said Clark Wednesday morning. “The town of Baltimore deserves it. The children deserve it.” She was clear, however, that even though the lights are going up, she still has to raise $860 to pay for the lights’ electricity and hopes people continue to donate money. Clark said the village put up the lights on faith that donations will pay for them. Clark described how everything began.
“The weekend after Thanksgiving my mother said, ‘When are they going to put up the lights?’” said Clark. She spoke with a friend who works for the village and learned that as a cost saving measure, the village wasn’t going to hang them this year. “Are they serious?” Clark said to herself. “I wanted to see what I could do.”
Clark said a lot of people in town didn’t know the lights would not be hung and she posted it on Facebook. “I got an overwhelming response,” she said, adding that roughly 115 people answered the post. Clark said she then met with Village Administrator Marsha Hall, who said that hanging the lights and powering them through the season would cost more than $1,000 dollars. Clark said she’s very active with the local school district and knows many people. She decided, “We’re going to make this happen.”
Clark contacted Travis Wolfe, a neighbor who owns a truck with a “cherry picker” bucket lift, and he volunteered his services, leaving $860 for Clark to raise. “Now it’s just going out and getting it,” she said.
Wednesday, Clark said she was placing collection cans in Baltimore businesses for donations and she’s asking businesses to donate. She’s about halfway to the $860 goal.
While she’s very happy the holiday lights are up, she hopes the village won’t rely on residents’ generosity every year to fund it. “The villagers want their Christmas lights,” she said, and the village should budget for it. Clark said these are tough economic times for everyone, not just the village, and it seems wrong to her to deny children, especially, the joy the holiday lights can bring them. “People come together when the community needs to,” she said.
Clark said people can place donations in the cans or contact her at (614) 582-7561 or mail a check – made out to the Village of Baltimore, not her personally – to 405 N. Oak Street, Baltimore, Ohio 43105, or the Village of Baltimore at 103 West Market Street, Baltimore, Ohio 43105.
Baltimore Mayor Bob Kalish said the donated money and labor, as well as the public’s desire for the lights, convinced the village to hang them. “We couldn’t do this without the donated funds,” he said. Kalish said the volunteer bucket truck was particularly helpful to the cause. “I’m glad we could put them up for everyone,”