Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Idea for a Kuna city-sponsored light show

As we wrap up this Christmas season, I thought I would throw out an idea for the city of Kuna for next Christmas season.
I’d like to see the city of Kuna create a Christmas light and music show along the Indian Creek Greenbelt. As evidenced by the front page of this week’s issue as well as a drive through just about any subdivision in Kuna, local residents are fond of decorating their houses for Christmas.
Let’s turn this into an annual city-sponsored event. My idea is to set up Christmas light displays all along the Greenbelt starting at Swan Falls Road and extending as far as possible, maybe even all the way to Indian Creek Elementary. We could pipe in Christmas music, and residents can simply stroll along the Greenbelt at their leisure taking in the sights and listening to the music. Kids would love it.
Given the way society is going, we could set this up on the day after Halloween and run it for the months of November and December. You could have it set up from 6 to 9 p.m. each night.
Not only could this be simply a nice perk to offer local residents, I think this could be an economic development tool. Such a display could attract not only the 15,000 residents who live in Kuna but the 25,000 residents who live within the Kuna school district boundaries as well as residents from Melba, Nampa, Meridian and elsewhere.
We could allow vendors to set up and sell hot chocolate, popcorn, roasted chestnuts, etc. Local businesses and restaurants could offer coupons to people who walk the Greenbelt to come into their shop or restaurant for a discount off selected items.
The hard work would come during budget time. The City Council would have to set aside a certain amount, let’s say $50,000 or $60,000, to get this thing going. Last budget cycle, city treasurer John Marsh identified about $150,000 in carryover funds, so some of that could be used. Further, Mayor-elect Greg Nelson has said he’s planning on looking for areas of the budget to shave down, so there might be further “found” money for such a venture. It’s just a matter of priorities.
Finally, I’d like to see the city work closely with the Kuna Chamber of Commerce on this project. City Council member-elect Briana Buban-Vonder Haar said she wants to foster a greater spirit of cooperation between the city and the chamber, and this would be a perfect project for the two to work together. For example, the chamber could work with local businesses to sponsor a light display of their own. Each business would be given — for free — a space of their own along the Greenbelt to create their own light display. The business would simply have to provide their own lights. It could be as elaborate as they like, and they could put their business name on a sign with the display to promote their business. I could envision Les Schwab doing Santa in a race car, or the Kuna Melba News having Santa throwing newspapers. One business could have a Charlie Brown theme, another business a Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer theme. There are all sorts of possibilities.
The city and chamber could ask local residents to donate old lights they’re not using anymore or donate lights (purchased at Kuna Lumber and Kuna True Value) to the cause.
I don’t think it would take a lot. The city might have to solve some problems such as electricity and piped-in music and passing a resolution to exempt the event from the city’s new after-dark ban. But it’s definitely doable.
As we say goodbye to Christmas 2011, let’s set our sights on 2012 with new vigor and new ideas.


slfisher said...

Interesting idea, sort of like Winter Garden Aglow at the Idaho Botanical Garden. Wonder if it wouldn't be better to do it downtown, though.

Also, hate to be cynical but when there's ads in the paper trying to get people to return stolen Christmas decorations, I'd hate to think that a few bad apples would spoil it for the rest of us.

Scott McIntosh said...

Sharon: Yes, I thought of the theft factor, too. I guess we'll never know till we try. I remember someone discouraged us from putting up newsboxes around town because they would get stolen or broken into. We took the chance and so far, knock wood, nothing majorly bad has happened.