Editorial: Keeping the lovely lights lit
Ridgefield center is beautiful — the holiday lights twinkling in all those trees along Main Street. Enjoy it, Ridgefielders.
A leading commercial street in a nearby town has been without lights this holiday season. Greenwich Avenue in Greenwich — Greenwich, a wealthy suburb even by Fairfield County standards — has had a darker-than-usual holiday season this year because no one was willing to step up and donate or raise the money to pay for the street’s decorative lights.
In Ridgefield, that’s been done for two decades now by the Holiday Trust Fund.
Another of Selectwoman Barbara Manners’ efforts to keep community spirit alive in Ridgefield, the Holiday Trust Fund dates back to 1999 when the Ridgefield Chamber of Commerce said it could no longer afford the cost of a bucket truck to string the holiday lights and electricity to keep them on, or for the police officers who would close Main Street each year for the Halloween Walk of costumed kids through the downtown. Recollecting back 20 years, Manners said she thought the annual total was about $18,000. The Holiday Trust Fund has been bearing the brunt of that load ever since.
This fund occasionally takes on extra causes, as well. One was the conversion of the Main Street lights from the old-style light bulbs that consumed large amounts of electricity to highly efficient LEDs. It was a big one-time cost, spread over two years, but lowered the annual electricity bill — and also brought the environmental advantages of reduced energy use.
This year, the Holiday Trust Fund kicked in $5,000 to help finance the horse carriages that are part of the Holiday Stroll.
The nonprofit Holiday Trust Fund — which is managed by the town’s accounting department, under the Friends of Ridgefield program — is the beneficiary of a mailing Manners sends out each year in late fall. But the cost of mailings has gone up, like most everything else. Printing and postage for a mailing to 8,000 homes cost about $2,500 in 1999 when Manners got started at the task. Now, she said, it costs about $6,000 to reach a slightly large mailing to about 9,000 homes. So that eats into what the mailing brings in for Halloween’s police officers and December’s Main Street lights.
Know where this is going?
Checks may be made out to the Holiday Trust Fund and mailed to Ridgefield Town Hall, 400 Main Street, Ridgefield CT 06877.
Enjoy the lovely lights.