Scott City turns on holiday lights

Sunday, December 5, 2004

Scott City will be aglow with lights this holiday season, from Main Street to the city park and Second Street in Old Illmo, thanks to the city's parks and recreation department and Chamber of Commerce.

The Winter Wonderland in the city park, which has been a holiday tradition for about 15 years, has the biggest concentration of decorations, with lighted displays from almost 20 area businesses and organizations such as the Riverside Regional Library, the Scott City Historical Commission and the Sunny Village Garden Club.

In addition, all the trees lining the park's road are decorated with Christmas lights and the Scott City Kiwanis made decorative candy canes out of PVC pipe and red tape and erected them along one side of the park road.

All the lights in the park were first turned on Saturday following the city's Christmas parade and will be on every evening for the rest of December.

More displays are on the way because the recent rainfall has prevented some people from working in the park, including members of the department.

"Everybody's running late because of Thanksgiving and the rain that we got," said department director Phyllis Crump.

Only three members of the department work on the city's Christmas decorations. Crump said it is always a lot of work, especially when dealing with the sometimes unpredictable weather in early December.

"We stay busy," she said. "A lot of work goes into this. It wouldn't be so bad if the weather was always nice. I've been out here in the sleet before."

In addition to the Winter Wonderland, the parks and recreation department is also responsible for the decorations and lights along Main Street.

The caboose parking lot across from the VFW features a large "Merry Christmas" sign and cutouts of Santa and his reindeer, and the pear trees in the welcome park near the intersection of Highway 55 and Main Street are decorated with lights.

"It helps people get in the Christmas spirit," Crump said of the decorations.

And she said the hard work does not go unnoticed by residents.

"We get compliments and people send cards saying how nice the town looked and that they appreciated it," Crump said.

Crump's department also helped the chamber of commerce put up decorative light displays in various holiday shapes along the part of Second Street that is now considered a historic arts district.

Area businesses, AmerenUE, individual volunteers and River Ridge Winery all contributed their time, money or materials to decorate the street, which chamber president Paul Schock said has not been decorated in about 15 years.

"They use to put lights up and down the poles," Schock said. "Several of us in the community decided to try to start to do something again."

"Hopefully, down the road we'll be able to expand it," he said.

335-6611, extension 182

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